ZANU PF Bulawayo women’s league chairperson Ever Bitu has accused the Bulawayo City Council of deliberately inflating residents’ utility bills to recoup money lost after the government issued a directive to all local authorities to write off domestic rates and water bills last year.
Addressing a Zanu PF Bulawayo women’s league inter-district conference at the Bulawayo Polytechnic yesterday, Bitu pleaded with vice-president Joice Mujuru, who was in attendance, to intervene.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo directed councils to write off all debts in the run-up to last year’s July 31 elections in a move some analysts said was a Zanu PF electioneering campaign tactic.
Bitu said residents’ monthly utility bills had been unjustifiably skyrocketing, adding that it was a deliberate move by the MDC-T-led council to get back at Chombo’s directive.
“We ask for your intervention. The MDC-T-led council is not happy about the Zanu PF election victory and last year’s directive to cancel all debts. We are realising that council is now sending residents shocking and ridiculous bills,” she said.
“Council is mischievously inflating bills to get back at Zanu PF.
“You might think that council is billing a farmer when you check some of the water bills they send,” Bitu said to a thundering applause from delegates attending the conference.
A number of local authorities were left teetering on the brink after the directive to write off all debts accumulated during the coalition government era.
The directive came at a time when most local authorities were already struggling to offer efficient services.
Bitu bemoaned the bankruptcy of Zanu PF Bulawayo province saying lack of money was hindering their programmes.
“We do not have cars and we are forced to walk or use our personal money to conduct party affairs. We are asking for assistance in this regard,” she said.
“We also ask the leadership to fulfil promises they make to the people. This is so because people ask us what became of the promises and that alone makes our job difficult when we go on the ground.”