MUTARE residents yesterday said they were following with keen interest the action government and city fathers would take to deal with corrupt council officials as outlined in a report recently handed over to the local authority.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
While council workers have gone for several months without salaries, it emerged in the report that corruption was rife within the local authority.
But residents were sceptical that decisive action would be taken against corruption within council.
They said the report by a special investigations team set up by the government would likely be swept under the carpet.
Mutare Residents and Ratepayers’ Association programmes director David Mutambirwa said government was taking ratepayers for a ride.
“The call by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister (Mandi) Chimene that the entire council should resign because of corrupt activities is not coming from her heart. There is no way they are going to fire each other. This is not the first time we have heard it. They know each other,’’ he said.
“If they are serious about dealing with corruption ,they should start at the top and fire each other.’’
Mutambirwa said residents were watching with great interest.
Combined Mutare Residents’ Trust director Maxwell Matiashe, while welcoming the report, said firing council management was not the ultimate solution.
“Firing or resigning is not a solution. Yes, we understand there is corruption at council and we do not subscribe to corruption, but we need to know the root of the problem,” he said.
“Some residents and industries are not paying their rates and this is how the council operates. So what do you need the management to do? The economy is not performing. So it will also be difficult for whoever will come in.”
Addressing councillors and council management on Thursday shortly after Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere had presented the explosive report on investigations carried out at the local authority, Chimene said council had failed to run the its day-to-day affairs.
National Constitutional Assembly member and local resident David Mukunda said Zanu PF and MDC-T councillors were to blame for allowing the “rot” at council to continue.
Chimene said councillors were allowing themselves to be tossed around by management.
Kasukuwere said councillors should go through the report and decide which officials to fire.
“This council is riddled with corruption. If it was an exam, I would give it a Fail. Something needs to be done because this city will not exist in the future,” he said.
Top Mutare executives were among others being accused of enrolling their children at foreign universities and private schools using council funds and also stood accused of awarding themselves unnecessary international trips.