Bulawayo residents have accused councillors of “looking after themselves” while neglecting the people who voted them into office.
Last week Bulawayo city councillors agreed to raise their sitting allowances from $20 to $50. This comes amid reports that the local authority was saddled with a $9,2 million Zesa debt and struggling to pay their May salaries.
Council has instead embarked on a blitz to disconnect water supplies to residents with outstanding bills.
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association leader Winos Dube said: “That’s typical of the leaders we have in the local authority now. Our leaders are being heartless.”
“They cannot pay Zesa and we have a city that is running in the dark. They cannot pay the staff but they are jumping to pay themselves huge allowances. We are seeing greed in these people.
“They are rushing to disconnect residents so that they (residents) struggle to make efforts to pay and the councillors take the money for their own pockets. We expect councilors to be people with heart,” he said.
“It is high time people elected leaders with heart. The councillors we have today have distanced themselves from the masses and are up there overindulging themselves. How many times do they sit per week, yet they pay themselves that kind of money?” he said.
Acting president of the Zimbabwe Unemployed People’s Association, Mqondisi Moyo, said the councillors should explain where the money to pay themselves hefty allowances was coming from.
“These are the things that make residents reluctant to pay for council services. A lot of people are not working and are trying hard to raise money and pay bills, but the councillors are looting the money this way.
“Why are they neglecting the same electorate that thrust them into seats of power? They should go to the people who voted for them and attend to their problems instead of serving their own interests at the expense of the unemployed residents,” he said.