BUSINESS at the Chitungwiza Municipality head office ground to a halt again yesterday after scores of residents and Zanu PF youths stormed council offices demanding the ouster of town clerk George Makunde and his line managers over corruption allegations.
BY ALBERT MASAKA
This was the second demonstration inside two weeks and came a week after the Messenger of Court towed away several utility vehicles over a $4,2 million debt owed to Nissam (Private) Limited for the design and layout of residential stands in Nyatsime township. The demonstrators vowed to carry on with their protests until Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere intervened and axed the cited officials.
Riot police cordoned off the area around the entrance to the head office, to bar the placard-waving protesters from entering the offices.
The residents were calling for the sacking of Makunde, the recently-reinstated director of urban planning services Conrad Muchesa and human resources manager Mary Mukonyora, accusing them of corruption.
“Everyone wants better schools and better roads regardless of their political affiliation as that is the right of everyone from birth and that is why you see everyone is here calling for the ouster of these corrupt officials who have failed us,” a Zanu PF Harare provincial official, who declined to be named, said.
“We are here to demonstrate and air our grievances over the rampant corruption being perpetrated by Makunde and his managers. If councillors were punished it means the management should also go because they were new when they came and were shown the corrupt way by managers.”
Chitungwiza Progressive Residents’ Association leader Admire Zaya weighed in, saying: “If Makunde can’t deal with his management, then he also should go. Look at the Nyatsime fiasco, council took people’s money, but no stands up to now. Then there is issue of salaries, we know that management was being paid in cash and the other money was going into their bank accounts.”
Although Makunde could not be reached for comment, the town’s spokesperson Aaron Mhonyera accused residents of failing to appreciate efforts being made by the local authority to address their concerns.
‘I don’t see any corruption or mismanagement on the part of the current management on a problem that was caused by the Godfrey Tanyanyiwa-led management,” he said.
“They are the ones who entered into the agreement with Nissam, and despite the fact that the job done by Nissam might not be worth that much, we have made efforts to pay, but the inflows are very low. Residents also have a part to play by paying rates.
“What Nissam did to take all the service delivery vehicles is inhuman considering that there are serious health issues here. It’s a time bomb for the town” Mhonyera said.