Manyenyeni defends Byo mayor

HARARE mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has jumped to his Bulawayo counterpart Martin Moyo’s defence, over the latter’s acquisition of a top-of-the range car a year before elections.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Martin Moyo

Martin Moyo

Manyenyeni took to social media to argue that Bulawayo residents needed to accept the car, which will be used by successive mayors going forward.

While acknowledging Moyo’s mounting troubles over the vehicle, Manyenyeni said he has had to use alternatives.

“For Harare, I have used council pool cars from council departments almost my entire time as Harare mayor. I still arrive wherever I need to get to and occasionally we ‘make a plan’,” Manyenyeni said, adding he sometimes uses a ramshackle car.

Manyenyeni, however, indicated Bulawayo has the capacity to buy its mayor the expensive car.

“The City of Kings (Bulawayo) is our second largest city and is bigger than some government ministries which are headed by ministers and deputies with two cars which they walk away with – no excuse, but just to compare. The mayor heads the best-run municipality in the country – having enjoyed significant levels of independence from central government for many years,” he said.

Manyenyeni added that Bulawayo has also largely been spared Harare’s run-ins with the Local Government ministry.

“This has allowed the Bulawayo city managers to be very professional – with obvious results. Bulawayo politicians across the divide have (in the past) defended their municipality to run without too much politicking from Harare.

Their mayor is probably busier than most MPs and some ministers. ‘His’ current car has seen its better days.

“I know that black BT50 Mazda double-cab well. Mayoral jobs in Zimbabwe are impossible missions – largely because of the rough political terrain, the non-executive template, and poor resources (collection and management),” he said.

According to Manyenyeni, there was failure to understand the “underlying” issues to service delivery, adding “three or so council managers (out of nearly 50 of them) can gobble the same cost per month as all 45 councillors and mayor combined”.

The Harare mayor has had a proposal to reduce salaries of city executives blocked by councillors.

“Our residents don’t even bother to understand that … we are just labelled as one greedy bunch. I don’t know how many times I have been accused of enjoying my big fat salary,” he said.

While arguing he has had to defer Harare’s purchase of the mayor’s $200 000 executive car, he had reduced the budget to $70 000, Manyenyeni told Bulawayo residents.

“To the residents and ratepayers, please, receive the new mayoral (not mayor’s) vehicle without protest. Look after it well … it is yours and it does not really kill service delivery, check out the numbers!” Manyenyeni said.

Moyo took delivery of the Mercedes Benz recently, causing an uproar in the city.

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