HomeEditorial CommentMasvingo should respond to petition

Masvingo should respond to petition

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THE demonstration by hundreds of Masvingo residents last week was a timely wake-up call to local authorities who tend to take such issues for granted.

Masvingo residents a fortnight ago petitioned the city council to respond to a number of issues they were not happy about and true to the attitude of most local authorities in the country no one bothered to respond. The agitated residents had to storm Town House demanding the resignation of top council officials over poor service delivery and their refusal to disclose their salaries.

Town clerk Adolf Gusha was briefly held hostage before anti-riot police intervened and dispersed the residents.

At the core of the problems in Masvingo are reports that some top council managers are each paid $900 housing allowances when they stayed in council houses.

Residents are also not happy about erratic water supplies and lack of feedback on the latest developments surrounding the attached council vehicles. The Masvingo council fleet was attached over a $3 million salary dispute with workers and the utility vehicles have been gathering dust at the Deputy Sheriff’s office for several months now.

The disgruntled residents are also up in arms with council for failing to “account” for the $25 collected from each household between January and June.

Council had said the money was meant for the construction of a dedicated power line to a pump station to improve water delivery in the town. The fact that mayor Hubert Fidze was not present to address the residents could be an indication that council is not taking their concerns seriously.

How could a council that claims to be responsive to residents’ issues fail to address a petition that it received a fortnight ago.

The Masvingo rot points to a serious problem in the local governance system as similar issues have been raised in other major urban areas.

Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo has to be seen playing his advisory role and this does not necessarily mean firing the Masvingo council as he is known to act if it’s an MDC-led council.

The minister just needs to make sure that all arms of his ministry do their work appropriately.

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