The long-standing tiff between Kwekwe City Council and the residents’ association took a new twist last week after the latter blocked a bid by the local authority to borrow $1,12 million for the purchase of service delivery vehicles.
On August 31, the Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (KRRDA ) petitioned town clerk Emmanuel Musara to stop the loan application until their dispute over the 2011 budget has been resolved. The petition was signed by 80 residents.
Council had indicated through a newspaper advertisement its intention to borrow $1,12 million from financial institutions to fund the purchase of motor vehicles, plant and other related equipment.
But, the residents refused, demanding the local authority to explain how it approved the 2011 budget in spite of their objections.
Part of the petition reads: “We, the residents of Kwekwe, object to your advertisement first carried in a local weekly on July 12 because such borrowing shows you are in the process of implementing a budget rejected by over 350 residents. Further, there are allegations of corruption dogging your office and therefore unless an audit clears this mist, we have no trust in your office borrowing money on our behalf.”
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has since appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations.
Residents rejected the 2011 budget which proposed to raise $14 996 053 from rates and tariffs citing unrealistic figures in the capital budget which included the purchase of five vehicles for $450 000, two laptops valued at $2 000 each and calculators worth $200 each.
Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa has since dismissed KRRDA as a political outfit bent on destabilising the MDC-T led council.
“Zanu PF is behind this scheme, but they won’t stop us,” Tobaiwa vowed.