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Moyo speaks on Pomona deal

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Mayor, councillors fume over US$20 monthly allowance

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HARARE councillors are seething with anger, describing Local Government minister July Moyo (pictured) as inconsiderate and heartless in failing to review the paltry monthly allowances given to city fathers despite rising inflation.

MOSES MATENGA

Councillors receive ZW$16 000 in allowances while the mayor of Zimbabwe’s capital gets ZW$22 000, amounts which are less than US$30 per month. Moyo’s ministry gazettes allowances for the country’s local authorities.

The allowances have exposed the councillors to corruption as they are supposed to superintend over a budget amounting to over a million United States dollars while also expected to guard against a lot of opaque deals.

However, the councillors said what they were getting from government was an insult and possibly meant to frustrate opposition councillors, mainly in urban areas.

In United States dollar value, councillors are getting US$22.50, enough only for 13 litres of fuel.

Discussing a recent circular from the Local Government ministry during a full council meeting this week, councillors said central government was insincere and heartless in awarding such a paltry allowance.

Others felt the Local Government minister was punishing them for trying to block deals including the US$400 million Pomona waste-to-energy project that the Zanu PF politburo member has been personally pushing for.

Moyo and councillors now have a frosty relationship over the deal and engaged in a nasty war of words amid accusations and counter accusations of corruption.

Councillors accuse him of angling to personally benefit from the corrupt deal that will see Harare paying millions of dollars a month for 30 years.

“Of all the ministers, this one has been unkind, cruel and heartless,” Mafume told councillors during the meeting.

He said the government was also blocking the purchase of a mayoral vehicle as per conditions of work, a move he said was meant to frustrate him from discharging his duties.

“They are opposing the purchase of my car. They rule with utmost cruelty, but we will continue working to serve the residents,” he said.

“What is surprising is that they have the energy and zeal to pay Geogenix BV.”

Councillor Ian Makone described the government’s action over councillors’ allowances as irritating.

“lt is irritating and this has to be minuted for records’ sake. It is an insult for him to say that.”

Councillors are also fuming over the failure by the Urban Councillors Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz) to hold an indaba and map a way forward in the wake of challenges faced by the city fathers.

Harare has threatened to walk out of Ucaz in protest, accusing the organisation of being captured.

Moyo is not the first minister to fight councillors, with former ministers Ignatius Chombo and Savior Kasukuwere having locked horns with the opposition city fathers over several issues.

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