Harare councillors demand iPads

HARARE - Harare city councillors want to award themselves iPads in one of the last council sessions before a general election expected after June.

The package comes after councillors have approved the purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser VXV8 valued at $190 000 for town clerk  Tendai Mahachi and a Jeep Grand Cherokee valued at $117 000 for chamber secretary Josephine Ncube.

Councillors claim they need the iPads to introduce a paperless Town House.

Town House erupted in cheers at a full council meeting on Thursday after recently-appointed special interest councillor Rowdy Mabhaudhi proposed that council reduces its stationery and logistical budget by procuring iPads for officials.

“This is 2013, we should do away with these papers,” Mabhaudhi said.

“I think they now fill a lot of space at your homes. I move a motion to buy every councillor a laptop. You are well travelled and you can testify how your council is behind in terms of technology.

“If we ask how much we are spending everyday on bond, printing and delivering of these minutes, you discover it is a whole lot,” Mabhaudhi said amid deafening applause from his fellow councillors.

Mabhaudhi said council could be transformed with just $21 000.

Councillor Peter Moyo, seconding Mabhaudi’s motion, said: “chamber secretary, you should send a driver to come and collect a heap of council minutes because it has become a breeding ground for rats.”

Special interest councillor Tariro Chikumbirike pushed for action to purchase the gadgets while councillor Sasha Jogi said council also needs a functional website.

“When Bill Gates invented Microsoft, he said he wanted to do away with paper but it actually multiplied ten-fold (here). We need a good website, not the lukewarm we have now,” said Jogi.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda recommended that the proposal be taken care of as a matter of urgency.

Some councillors proposed that council appeal for funds to purchase the items from the private sector.

Hieronymo Torongo Torongo accused fellow councillors in jest, for eyeing an exit package as their term comes to an end.

“Though it is a brilliant idea, is it not also that you have found a way of getting an exit package,” said Torongo.

Critics said the package was “preposterous and in completely bad taste.” - Wendy Muperi

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