HARARE – Chitungwiza residents have called on the new Local Government minister July Moyo to urgently dissolve the Madzudzo Pawadyira-led commission.
Moyo — who was sworn in on Monday — has been asked to probe the “unsubstantiated” allegations of gross abuse of office and corruption that former minister Saviour Kasukuwere levelled against the town’s dozens of councillors.
Chitungwiza was the worst hit by Kasukuwere’s purge of opposition-run local authorities as he suspended the entire 26-member council on corruption allegations.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) acting director Alice Kuveya said now there was a new minister, the approach to the town’s affairs should be more consultative.
“Our first impression of him is that he is a diligent and conscientious character. It is our hope that he will execute his new responsibilities with utmost probity and that his performance will not be impaired by narrow-minded personal or political interests as was the case with his predecessor.
“As the new minister, we ask that he immediately dissolve the caretaker council appointed by his predecessor to run the affairs of Chitungwiza on behalf the elected councillors. It came to office without well-defined terms of reference and was always doomed to fail. At the moment all they have managed to do is to frustrate residents by looting from depleted council coffers,” she said.
Kuveya added that the issue of the suspended councillors should be swiftly resolved as it had dragged on for too long and the town could not carry on without proper direction. Chitrest’s acting director said the minister also has to address issues of service delivery which the commission was tasked with.
She said it was unconstitutional for the town which has a population of more than 1 million people to have taps than run dry six days of the week despite residents paying for the service.
“Alternative and sustainable ways of providing water to Chitungwiza residents should be initiated as soon as possible. Council workers have also gone for several months without being paid their monthly salaries.
“The ministry should assist council to come up with a strategy to pay all outstanding salary arrears to workers so that they can perform their duties efficiently in order to enhance service delivery.
“The issue of rationalising the council workforce should also be concluded without any further delay,” Kuveya said.