Kwekwe battles $1 million Zinwa debt

The local council and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority have been plunged into a deadlock over payment of a $ 1 million debt in a battle which saw the city going dry for three days last week.

Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya.

The debt has been accumulating since 2009 with the cash-strapped council failing to honour a payment plan it entered with the parastatal last year. The battle between the council and Zinwa also come at a time when there have been efforts to market the town and invite investors through an annual exhibition titled Kwekwe Expo. Though Mayor Matenda Madzoke was not available for comment, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya said the council and Zinwa should find a way of settling the impasse. The former chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on media and broadcasting services decried a move by Zinwa to cut off water supplies to the city in protest over the outstanding bill.

“Certainly for ZINWA to cut off water supply and have Kwekwe city run dry is inhuman, unprofessional and barbaric. While I do not condone non-payment of dues owed to ZINWA by the council, I believe there are other measures ZINWA could take in order to recover the debt,” Chikwinya said.

“We urge the two parties to be cautious on this issue. Residents and industry should not be made to suffer. Common ground should be found,” he said.

Recently councillors demanded a salary cut for Town Clerk Emmanuel Musara after it emerged that his annual earnings for last year were pegged at over $130,000. Musara’s monetary benefits were described as unproportional to those of middle management employees who get an average monthly gross salary of $442 – made up of $250 basic pay, $4 soap, $22 transport and $130 housing allowance.

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