They snubbed a residents meeting organised by the trust last Saturday to ensure effective communication between residents and the city fathers. It was attended by more than 500 residents from all over the city.
Residents expressed their bitterness over the failure by Mutoti and Makunde to attend the meeting, saying their absence meant that they did not value residents’ concerns and their input into the day to day running of council business.
Tinashe Kazuru, Chitrest Board Secretary said it was disappointing that the council representatives failed to turn up at such an important meeting despite confirming their attendance a week earlier.
“Public office bearers should be responsible and accountable to residents,” said Kazuru. “A lot of pertinent issues were raised by the residents and we believe that such interactive communication between residents and the city fathers is important to help demystify some of the perceptions held by residents over how council is operating.”
Kazuru said failure by the two council officials to attend the meaning raised eyebrows considering that it was an opportunity for them to interact with residents and explain the importance of paying bills.
“Some of the critical issues raised include the acute water shortage in most of the town’s locations including Units A, D, J, K, O, P and M among others,” said Kazuru, adding that residents are planning to boycott paying rates as a way of ensuring that council improves in the provision of water services.
He said there was consensus that residents should organise themselves for a demonstration at council offices as a way of demanding improved water supply.
“As an organisation representing residents, we are still looking at the legality of embarking on some of the resolutions made at the meeting so that we do not engage in acts that are against the law,” said Kazuru.
However, Mutoti alleged that the meeting was a deliberate plot by Chitrest to have him beaten up by residents.
“The organisation had mobilised people to beat me up although I am yet to establish why Khumalo and his gang of former members of parliament and unscrupulous councillors wants me beaten,” said Mutoti.
“I got wind of the information from sympathisers who told me that they want residents to beat me up and this is one of the reasons why I did not attend. I feared for my safety.”
He said it was not true that Chitrest had officially communicated to him about the meeting well ahead of time arguing that he had never confirmed attendance because nothing had been formalised.
“I received a phone call a few days before the meeting and I had already made other plans for the day. I was in Bulawayo,” said Mutoti.
Town clerk, Makunde was not available to comment as his mobile was not reachable.
Marvelous Khumalo, Chitrest Board Chairperson, dismissed the allegations as mere ‘political immaturity’ by the mayor. He said his organisation formally communicated to the mayor and town clerk through the chamber secretary.
He accused Mutoti and Makunde of failure to honour their pledges, and said they should have communicated if they could not make it for the meeting on time to avoid raising residents’ emotions.
“Our organisation has a mandate to represent residents and we do not in any way condone violence,” said Khumalo, responding to allegations of a plot to have the duo beaten up by residents.
“We have the reputation of the organisation at stake and we have never plotted any attempt to have them (Mutoti and Makunde) beaten.”
Khumalo said although it is true that the leadership of Chitrest comprised of former MPs and councillors, these people, just like every other citizen had every right to hold any public office.
“Yes, the board is made up of former MPs and councilors, but does that matter?” he said.
Residents who spoke to The Zimbabwean urged the city fathers to engage residents and not snub such meetings.
Nelson Dube from Unit O said his hopes of communicating with the mayor and town clerk were quashed because he wanted to interact one on one with the city fathers instead of hearing their voices through the media.
“These people are not accessible to residents because of the bureaucratic way in which they have shut themselves away from us,” said Dube. “I had come all the way from Unit O so that I could get answers on why I am continuously billed for water services even though I do not get any water at my house.”
Other residents said they had hoped to understand why council continued giving them a raw deal in the provision of services despite settling their bills.
Getrude Zondai from Unit K said it was important for council to ensure the provision of efficient service delivery as a way of encouraging residents to pay their bills.
“It does not make sense to continue paying for services that we hardly get. Council is responsible for the failure by residents to pay rates because they demotivate you by poor service delivery,” she said.
Unit J residents complained that they had not received any water supply for three weeks in a row.
“We hardly get any water because it could be that our pipes are on higher ground or the pressure is not enough to supply all of us,” said Florence Chauke. “Water only comes once a week in this area but we do not get anything.”Post published in: News