GOVERNMENT has given Kadoma City Council management a week-long ultimatum to enforce best corporate governance systems and improve general service delivery or risk being fired.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Faber Chidarikire and provincial administrator (PA) Christopher Shumba sounded the warning shots during their unannounced visit to the city on Wednesday where they witnessed first-hand the pothole-riddled roads, overflowing raw sewage, dry water taps, uncollected garbage and the squalor under which some residents were living.
The tour took the delegation to Rimuka, Ingezi and the central business district.
The surprise visit by Chidarikire and Shumba comes amid allegations of gross looting of council funds by top managers under the guise of travel and subsistence allowances. Also, the management led by Malvern Dondo, who is currently on leave, recently bought itself top-of-the-range Ford Rangers valued at over
$65 000 each at time the local authority was failing to provide basic municipal services and pay workers’ salaries which are three months in arrears.
Chidarikire said: “The overall picture is not pleasing at all. We have been to places where sewage is spilling without the problem being attended to, this reflects on how the city is being run. I can’t believe how people are living in such conditions, it’s appalling.
“We want leaders who are committed to serving communities so they live better lives in clean environments. How do you expect residents to be forthcoming in paying rates when there is no service delivery? We should see change between today (Wednesday) and next week when we return.
“If you can’t, then resign or you will be fired,” charged Chidarikire.
Shumba was also unrelenting in his attack on management.
“All indicators are there that the local authority is sinking. We are told there is no money to collect refuse and pay workers’ salaries yet there is money from the same council to buy top managers luxurious vehicles on council-guaranteed loans. If heads under you (Mayor Muchineripi Chinyanganya) can’t roll, I should take it that you are the candidate who should roll.
“If this continues the minister (Local Government Ignatius Chombo) will fall on you like a ton of bricks, then to avoid this be the ton of bricks on your people. Fire people who can’t meet your set targets,” said Shumba.
Acting town clerk Willard Mangwengwende, who is the substantive chamber secretary, and housing director Gear Hanyani were the only present senior managers to bear the onslaught as the rest were reportedly away.
There was brief drama when an audit team brought at the behest of the PA was denied access to records pertaining to senior managers’ travel and subsistence allowances by an expenditure accountant only identified as Chifamba.
This drew Shumba’s wrath who accused Chifamba of attempting to conceal the rot at the municipality before threatening to summarily fire him.
The audit team was ordered to remain behind and conduct an overnight check of all the council’s books of accounts. Shumba alleged top managers were criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country and beyond on “dubious” working visits in a bid to siphon thousands of dollars in allowances which he termed “second salary”.
Meanwhile, sources said a crisis meeting of councillors and management has been scheduled for today with Dondo’s imminent suspension high on the agenda.