Amid revelations on social media that Masvingo City Council had donated nearly ZW$1 million towards First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa’s Chambuta project, residents have expressed disgruntlement over the matter, demanding transparency on ratepayers’ money.
In an interview, Masvingo Mayor Cllr Collen Maboke confirmed that some funds were channeled towards Chambuta Orphanage and said that Masvingo City Council have adopted one of the houses at the orphanage and they are responsible for its rehabilitation as well as furnishing it.
“I am aware of the money which was given to the Chambuta Orphanage because it was an agreement made as a local authority since we have adopted one of the houses at the orphanage. It has been our responsibility to furnish and rehabilitate that house.
I am however not in a position to know the correct amount of money channeled towards that project. My job is to sign and chair meetings. The Town Clerk can answer some of the questions you have because the duties of the executive mayor were transferred to the clerk and I am only a ceremonial mayor,” said Maboke.
Residents however questioned why the decision was made without prior consultation, knowledge and consent of ratepayers by the local authority, saying there are more pressing issues bedeviling service delivery.
Masvingo United Residents and Rate Payers Alliance (MURRA) spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said it is time to take action against council’s diabolic actions to transfer residents’ hard-earned cash without their consent.
“As residents, we are so much appalled by the revelations that such huge amounts of rate payers’ funds were donated towards the First Lady’s project without our knowledge and consent. We feel this is a case of misplaced priorities. We have braved years of poor service delivery but the authorities find it fit to do such a donation. We demand an explanation as soon as possible and will not sit and relax when our hard earned money is being abused,” said Mtimba.
Masvingo Service Delivery Residents and Ratepayers Association (MASDRRA) secretary general Moses Mavhusa said he was not going to comment as he needed the full facts first.
“Where did you get that information about the donation from? We want facts first,” said Mavhusa.
A resident who preferred anonymity said council had disappointed and betrayed the people who gave them the mandate to make Masvingo shine.
“It is very disappointing that we have more serious issues which need to be addressed and if that amount had been transferred towards the betterment of the city, we would have been at another level,” said the resident.
Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa said the money went towards government’s project and it was not a donation.
“It is not like Maboke and Mukaratirwa just woke up one day and chose to send money to Chambuta. It was government’s proposal requiring us to refurbish that house and buy other things needed there,” said Mukaratirwa.
It is not the first time in which council has channeled ratepayer’s funds towards other projects.
Earlier this year, council was accused of transferring a huge chunk of money towards First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa’s cooking competition held at Masvingo Polytechnic without the knowledge and approval of residents.