By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare, January 21, 2016 – City residents have demanded the ouster of under fire council executives, whose corrupt handling of the city’s affairs were exposed by a recent audit.
Since the rot was exposed through Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who was visiting the eastern border city last week, residents have staged two demonstrations to voice their displeasure on how city was being run.
The demonstrations, which were supervised by uniformed police officers and seemingly enjoyed support from some powerful local politicians, were held just as the Mutare city council adopted the audit report.
“We are tired of these people (management). They have destroyed our once vibrant and beautiful city, its time they go,” said one Beulah, a female demonstrator who was among some 200 protestors who converged at Civic Centre on Wednesday.
“How can a few people mortgage the city for their own selfish gains? We don’t have water, our roads are pothole infested, and refuse has not been collected for as long as I can remember, workers have no salaries, yet a few people are enjoying lavish lifestyles. No, its time it comes to an end,” said another demonstrator.
The protests came when it had emerged that management were earning monthly salary ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 at a time government had imposed a $4,500 salary cap in local authorities.
The audit indicated that management prejudiced the local authority of $340,848 per annum in potential revenue that could have been channelled towards service delivery.
The 11 senior managers were also pocketing an additional $199,279 in untaxed allowances and fringe benefits.
Tax evasion by managers prejudiced the local authority of nearly $1 million dollars, it is further revealed.
During his visit, Kasukuwere left it to the city fathers to decide on the possible sacking of corrupt administrators.
However, Mutare mayor, councillor, Tatenda Nhamarare said there was still a long way to go before any implicated director was sent packing.
Nhamarare said proper procedures, which could take up to six months, should be followed in a bid to avoid litigation.
“We still have a long way to go. It’s not as what people think. Right now the councillors need time to go over the audit before we proceed to hold special council meetings to tackle issue by issue, with the assistance of committees working hand in glove with the parent ministry (Local Government). So the process can take up to six months,” he said.