UNICEF pulls out of Chiredzi water project

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has reportedly pulled out of a water infrastructure rehabilitation programme in Chiredzi, owing to alleged mismanagement and incompetency by the local authority, triggering a standoff between residents and council.

BY Garikai Mafirakureva

The United Chiredzi Residents Ratepayers’ Association (UCHIRRA) and Chiredzi Residents’ Ratepayers Association have threatened to oppose implementation of the proposed 2018 budget until council came clean on the stalled projects involving Unicef and the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ).

UCHIRRA insisted that before they could approve a revenue budget of $1,2 million from the water account, council town secretary Charles Muchatukwa was supposed to come clean on more than half a million dollars donated by Unicef.

“Unicef gave $646 000 to council to rectify the problems highlighted in the budget, but it failed to meet the deadline and other requirements set by Unicef and now it wants us to endorse a proposal from IDBZ which will come as a debt to council,” UCHIRRA chairperson Josephat Tizirai said.

“Should people suffer now because of your mismanagement? I am surprised to see such a figure appearing on our budget when the town secretary assured us last year that the Magwaza and Zava water problem is going to be a thing of the past,” UCHIRRA secretary Bernard Dhachi said.

Despite attempts by town chairman Francis Moyo to evade the question, Muchatukwa confirmed the pull out by Unicef which left the poorly-funded local authority in a quandary.

“That is not our problem. You can put the blame squarely on the contractor because he failed to meet the deadline, leading to the withdrawal,” Muchatukwa said.

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