BULAWAYO mayor Martin Moyo has branded Zanu PF as mischievous for accusing the MDC-T-led local authority of “cooking” utility bills to fix the ruling party for winning the elections.
Zanu PF Bulawayo women’s league provincial chairperson Ever Bitu on Sunday pleaded with Vice-President Joice Mujuru to take action against the council saying it was sending imaginary and high water bills to residents.
Bitu said the MDC-T led council was unhappy with Zanu PF’s crushing election victory on July 31, 2013 as well as a government directive forcing all local authorities to write-off domestic debts and water bills accumulated during the lifespan of the coalition government.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo directed all local authorities to scrap off debts from February 2009 to the end of June 2013.
Addressing the inter-district conference at the Bulawayo Polytechnic, 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 Bulawayo City Council is not happy about the Zanu PF election victory and last year’s directive to cancel all debts.
“We are realising that the council is now sending residents shocking and ridiculous bills. The council is mischievously inflating the bills to get back at Zanu PF. You might think that the council is billing a farmer when you check some of the water bills they send,” Bitu said to thundering applause from delegates attending the conference.
However, Moyo yesterday said the accusations were stupid, strange and mischievous.
“The accusations are preposterous and plain stupid. It is preposterous to suggest that the council sits down with its employees and agrees to cook utility bills and sends them to residents. It is impossible and mischievous,” Moyo told Southern Eye in a telephone interview.
“We do not send fake bills. The bills we send are based on actual readings. Of course, we sometimes send estimate bills since our personnel cannot visit each and every house, but those estimates reflect and are based on that household’s average water usage using the actual readings we would have obtained from the previous months.”
A number of local authorities were left teetering on the brink after the directive to write off all debts.
The directive came at a time when most local authorities were already struggling to offer efficient services.
Bitu also bemoaned the province’s bankruptcy saying lack of money was hindering their programmes.
“We do not have cars and are forced to walk or use our personal money to conduct party affairs. We are asking for assistance in this regard. 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,” Bitu added.