Bulawayo City councillors say they are disturbed by critics comparing them to “touts” as they have worked hard to pull the city out of the economic decline that peaked in 2008.
The Bulawayo Metropolitan Governor and Resident Minister Cain Mathema, is on record saying the country’s second biggest city was suffering as a result of poor service delivery mainly because it was being run by councillors of little education, whom he compared to touts.
The governor said people should stop electing representatives who were “uneducated” and “computer illiterate.”
This week, ward 18 councillor Benjamin Ndlovu hit out at such critics.
“We are doing a good job as a council,” he said.
“I am shocked that someone can insult us to such an extent of saying we are touts from Egodini bus terminus. We are managing to fix the city’s roads and maintain service delivery despite having
12 000 ratepayers that have not been paying their rates in the city. How can touts be able to achieve such a feat against the odds?” he said.
Deputy Mayor Amen Mpofu said the city councillors could not stop criticism, but “will silence their critics through their work”.
“In a democracy, where there is freedom of speech, we should be aware that some people will eventually criticise us and say what they want,” he said.
“This should not stop us from doing our work. We will prove to them that we are capable by
progressing and pushing the city forward.”
Two months ago the local authority released a report detailing the academic and professional qualifications of its councillors that revealed that some only had driver’s licences or Standard Six qualifications.
Early this year, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo angered MDC-T by saying its Harare councillors were “dull and incompetent”.
“I get surprised with the choice of councillors by the MDC-T,” he said. “If you were to compare the councillors I appointed and the MDC-T councillors, my goodness, they are not even comparable. There is no comparison at all. It’s like they are square pegs in a round hole.”