Rate slashing backfires

MUTARE - Government's decision to slash water bills ahead of the 2013 harmonised elections has backfired as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is now demanding payment from the cash-strapped Mutare City Council, a councillor revealed.

Speaking on behalf of Mutare Municipality at a Centre for Community Development (CCD) Social Service Delivery Discussion Forum this week, Councillor Kudakwashe Chisango said the council was struggling to settle its bills.

“Mutare City Council does not get water for free from Zinwa and even after writing off the water bills to residents, Zinwa is still demanding its money”.

Residents took the MDC Ward 18 councillor to task over poor service delivery and also accused the city fathers of gross mismanagement.

Residents’ pressure groups, the United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) and Mutare Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (MRRA), threatened to stop paying bills unless the struggling council improves on service delivery.

Instead of responding to the residents’ concerns, an emotional Chisango accused the Bishop Sabastian Bakare-led UMRRT of representing the interests of the MDC renewal camp.

“UMRRT is now more of a political party. It is a division of the Biti-led MDC renewal and was established to fight council.

“It is printing an expensive glossy publication urging residents not to pay rates. How then would council give services if residents do not pay rates?” Chisango queried.

David Mutambirwa, MRRA’s programmes director was of the view that the major impediments to residents’ participation in influencing council performance was the veto powers vested in Ignatius Chombo, the minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

“The minister has too much powers, he can change council resolutions even when they were done in consultation with residents. It is a challenge citizens have,” Mutambirwa said.

Passmore Nyakureba, Zimrights Manicaland chairperson said residents should use the new Constitution to push for their rights.

“The Constitution has good laws which if adhered to will help residents get quality services.

“It is important for residents to know how councils operate for them to effectively demand services,” Nyakureba said.

The Mutare-based lawyer said resident organisations should go beyond talking and also play a part in encouraging the public to pay bills.


Comments (2)

That is the work of the Zvipfukuto with one of the adored ministers of the President always at the centre stage of scandal.all the saga ilies within the Ministry of Local government headed by Mr Chombo.One of the ministers who is responsible kusvibisa nyika with his operation murambatsvina and the shacks he built later to say it was alernative.Check the areas across the country and we will all agree this man is just a devils incarnation.He is at work

carson macate - 22 February 2015

I fail to see why ratepayers through the council have to pay Zinwa. Itai Munyame[ late city Engineer] forged through the pipeline from the Pungwe river which the Mutare council[ratepayers] financed. Please explain how Zinwa can claim ownership of our structure, pipeline, & water ??????

doc bob - 22 February 2015

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