'Pay councillors salaries'

HARARE - Local authorities must pay councillors proper salaries instead of allowances, the leader of the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDZ) has said.

Councillors, especially those in rural areas, were doing a great job in serving people under difficult circumstances, hence the need to adequately cater for their welfare, ARDZ president Killer Zivhu said at a councillors’ indaba at a local hotel in Masvingo yesterday.

Presently, councillors in the rural areas are given allowances, some as low as $30 per month, which is not enough to help them sustain their families.

“Rural councillors do a great job in serving communities under difficult environment that they deserve to earn salaries,” said Zivhu.

He said councillors wield significant power and should be treated with dignity by their local authorities.

“We deserve more as councillors. If we are treated the same as MPs and senators; the better. We are all elected politicians who deserve better welfare instead of the little allowances that we receive at the end of the month. Councillors wield more power since they are close to the people in rural areas and in times of elections they play a pivotal role.”

Zivhu said this new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa “will address our plight on salaries.” He said the status quo where councillors receive proper salaries was common in most Sadc countries and the world over.

He added that local authorities should give councillors residential or business stands and they should also be allowed to pay as little as 10 percent of the total cost.

“Most councillors are very poor and cannot afford to buy residential stands. They have nothing to show for serving the people and it is against that background that we wish councils to give them land, even for free, as packages,” the aspiring Chivi South legislator said.