THE Bulawayo City Council has spurned government’s request for funding of this year’s Independence Day celebrations citing a financial squeeze.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
According to latest council minutes, Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Angeline Masuku had approached town clerk Christopher Dube appealing for donations in cash and kind for the celebrations slated for April 18.
“It is your participation in this year’s national event which will assist to make it a thriving success. I, therefore, take this opportunity to thank you for the support you rendered in the previous events and it is in this regard that the provincial State occasions committee is appealing for donations in cash or kind for use during Independence Day celebrations,” Masuku said in a letter dated March 6.
“Donations can be deposited in the account Zimbabwe Independence Celebration, CBZ Ltd, USD a/c no. 012-20221070024 or sent to the provincial administrator of Bulawayo’s offices at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex Block “A” 6th Floor Office No. 6-29 or 6-30.”
But, council’s general purposes committee, turned down the request, citing a biting cash squeeze that has left the local authority failing to clear its debts.
The committee, however, agreed to allow government to use White City Stadium for free on the day.
“In view of financial constraints, council had in the past, only donated in kind towards national events such as Independence Day celebrations …
“It was, therefore, resolved to recommend that the appeal/request by the Minister of State for Provincial affairs Bulawayo metropolitan province for donations towards the 2018 Independence celebrations be acceded to and council offers free use of the White City Stadium for the main Independence celebration event on the 18th April on the usual basis,” the council report added.
This is not the first time that the government has turned to the local authority, and private companies for donations to fund State functions.
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association chairperson Winos Dube said there was nothing sinister in the government approaching council for donations.
“I believe council is also an arm of government and government seeking funds from BCC, I would not say it’s right or wrong. It’s a national thing and everybody is involved in this. Everyone can partake in whatever they feel they can do,” he said.