Sources in the city council which is led by the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Movement Democratic Change (MDC-T) told Radio VOP that the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had not paid for their water tariffs and other services rendered by council despite efforts by the city fathers to engage them.
The sources said the money owed had accumulated since the inception of the multi currency system in the country in 2009 when the government of national unity came into being.
“The city council is owed a lot by the army and the police and several other government departments. They are refusing to pay their water tariffs and other services they get from us, using their military muscles,” said an insider who declined to be named.
He added that the issue had been discussed at length in council meetings but the council could not take any resolution because they are afraid of the soldiers.
It is alleged the city council cannot resort to disconnecting the water at the army’s HQ4 brigade and 4:1 infantry battalion as it can be turned into a security issue.
“You see if they try to take any action to the army or the police the issue is turned to an issue of national security threat. So they do not have any option to deal with this guys but this is impacting negatively on the operations of the institution,” he added.
Masvingo City Mayor, Alderman Femias Chakabuda, confirmed the stand-off but could not shed light on the exact figure the army, police and the government owed the city council.
“We have been trying everything possible to get the money paid. The city council is owed a lot of money by the government departments and the military institutions but I am not sure about the exact amount you can check with the city treasurer,” Mayor Chakabuda told Radio VOP.
“You seen at times we do our budgets and include such debtors assuming that they will pay but they don’t so all our plans are affected negatively. We need money to deliver quality service for the residents and these people. Sometimes we this is affecting our residents who are innocent as they pay their dues in time,” he added.
Efforts to get a comment from ZNA provincial spokesperson, Warrant Officer, Kingston Chivave were fruitless as his mobile was not reachable while his counterpart, ZRP provincial spokesperson, Inspector, Tinaye Matake refused to comment and referred all questions his boss in Harare, Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena.
“I can’t comment to you call the PGHQ and speak to Bvudzijena,” said Matake.
Efforts to get a comment form Bvudzijena were not fruitful.