Kwekwe City Council has moved to buy a $60 000 Jeep Cherokee for mayor Matenda Madzoke, two years after he shunned an official vehicle.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Council’s finance committee, through a proposal by city treasurer, Rejoice Maweni, has recommended that Madzoke should recieve a Jeep instead of the recommended $125 000 Mercedes Benz C Class.
This comes just a month after Madzoke was spotted in town pushing a battered Mazda Familia pool car, which has now been converted into a mayor’s official vehicle.
Chamber secretary, Lucia Mnkandla said while Madzoke had refused an official vehicle, the purchase was not being made for him directly but for his office.
“The procurement of the mayoral vehicle is not for him as an individual, but for the office, hence, the obligation to buy it and maintain the respect and status of the office,” she said.
Madzoke in 2013 forced the local authority to recover $30 000, which had been deposited to a car dealer for the purchase of a mayoral vehicle.
The mayor directed that the money be used to buy a tractor to use in refuse collection.
Madzoke also made headlines by riding a bicycle to work, insisting council revenue should be used for more pressing issues like service delivery and road maintenance.
The Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers’ Development Association (KRRDA) was, however, suspicious about the timing of the decision to buy a new vehicle for the mayor, saying it coincided with the prepaid water meter tender scandal.
“The dignity of the office of the mayor has always been known since the days of (former mayor) Shadreck Tobaiwa, but management remained mum. Now that councillors, including the mayor have questioned this tender, all of a sudden they wake up to the dignity of his office,” KRRDA secretary Alex Homela said sarcastically. The proposal to buy Madzoke the vehicle is expected to be tabled before a full council meeting this week.
Councillors will also discuss the contentious prepaid water meter tender scandal, which has rocked Kwekwe.
Another proposal to buy a Toyota Quantum for councillors, transport will be tabled during the same meeting, after it was endorsed by the finance committee.
A councillor, who spoke to News Day said there were plans to defer discussions on the mayor’s vehicle because of suspicions over the timing.
“Council requested for a special council meeting to deal with this tender issue. That special council meeting did not materialise, but instead we are now being confronted with proposals to buy a mayoral vehicle and a kombi for councillors. I smell a rat,” the councillor said.
The management-dominated procurement committee awarded an indian firm Tricon Investment $340 000 tender to supply prepaid water meters ahead of Synlak (Pvt) Ltd, which charged $130 000 lower at $210 852 and Merchant Links, which was $100 000 lower at a price of $231 707,97.
However, councillors stalled the award, demanding they be furnished with comprehensive documents regarding the tender before making the decision.