Residents fume over Chi-Town commission earnings

HARARE - Chitungwiza residents have expressed outrage over the refusal to disclose allowances earned by the commission set up to probe corruption in the town’s council.

The Madzudzo Pawadyira-led commission was installed following the sacking of all 25 Chitungwiza councillors by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere over graft allegations.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) director Marvellous Kumalo told the Daily News that Pawadyira refused to disclose the amount the commission was receiving during a meeting on Tuesday.

“This commission does not even know their mandate. They have refused to share their terms of reference with us and that is suspicious. To add to that, when we asked them how much they were getting as allowances, they refused to disclose,” he fumed.

“They are investigating other people’s allowances yet they are keeping theirs a secret,” he argued.

“Unless they signed a non-disclosure agreement with the ministry, they have nothing to hide,” Kumalo said.

He added that Pawadyira has even requested to hold a closed-door meeting with some members of the residents’ pressure group.

“If the commission has concerns, they should address them in front of everyone and not wait to hold closed-door meetings. Chitungwiza issues should not be discussed in secrecy. They will not cow the residents with their hidden agenda,” he said.

Pawadyira was unavailable for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.

During a question and answer session in the National Assembly a fortnight ago, Kasukuwere accused the Chitungwiza councillors of awarding themselves hefty sitting allowances per council sitting.

“The funds that they collect — how do you justify a situation where councillors sit, they undermine the circulars that we have written from $65 and $95, they go to $300 per diem?  In other words, whatever is coming their way is meant to enrich individuals,” he told the committee.

“There was a time when there was connivance that the workers would say increase our salaries and also increase your allowance. When people get $300 in allowances per day, they will just require 10 days to receive $3 000 untaxed and put it in their wallets. It was a case of the left hand washing the right, connivance. We cannot use things that were used at a beer drink, but there is nothing that is beyond the glare of the public, no matter how hidden the venue might be.”

Kasukuwere went on to advise that he would rope in the police to arrest those implicated in the corruption scandal.

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