Luthando Mapepa, Chipinge Correspondent
A Chipinge residents’ association under the banner Chipinge Town Council Association (CTCA) last Friday handed over a petition, which contained a number of demands to the town council management.
The petition, which The Manica Post has in its possession, raised a number of allegations ranging from corruption, abuse of council property, shunning residents’ participation in approving budget and flouting tender procedures.
In an interview soon after handing over the petition, CTCA chairperson Mr Lincoln Mwaimbodeyi said they had petitioned the council over lack of engagement with ratepayers by the town council.
“Sometime last year, we wrote a letter directed to the council chairperson seeking clarification on allegations of corruption by the council officials following complaints that we received at our office.
It is disheartening that the council has refused or is not willing to shed light on the allegations.
“Our office is inundated with complaints over little and no service delivery from all residential areas, a situation which the council is failing to address. We also petition the council to follow tender procedures to avoid sub-standard services and immediately end corruption and investigate all cases of corruption and create a corruption-free environment,” said Mr Mwaimbodeyi.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works through the District Development offices called for a meeting between the CTCA and the town council for a round table discussion and open engagement.
However, the meeting was aborted after the association accused the council of paying lip service to the petition.
The association demanded a response in writing before they could engage in discussion.
However, in a written response on Wednesday, the town council dismissed the allegations as baseless.
In its eight-page response which The Manica Post has in possession, town secretary Dr Susan Dube said some of the issues raised in the petition were “too general”.
“On the issue of tenders, council the previous year flighted tenders for tractors, street lights, Thiba-Gaza road, borehole drilling and borehole solar equipment in the Government Gazette. We also communicated with the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) on these tenders. All procedures were strictly adhered to (in relation to) notice periods, selections and supplier visits,” she said.
On why council was not engaging residents when drawing up its budget, Dr Dube said council made an effort to inform them during budget consultations.
“Council conducted the budget consultation meetings for 2020 from October 21 using the ward-based participatory budgeting approach. Council also engaged ward development committees from October 14 to October 16 outlining the functions of the council,” she added.
On water supply, Dr Dube said council understood the challenges of water in some suburbs and said they were doing everything possible to address the situation.