The government blocked Gweru mayor councillor Josiah Makombe from meeting the European Union ambassador Timo Olkkonen on Tuesday.
Officials from Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavhima informed Makombe a few minutes before the scheduled meeting with Olkkonen that the government had not cleared it [the meeting].
Reports suggest that the government was afraid that the EU will fund projects in Gweru that will, in turn, boost the profile of the MDC Alliance-led council. Said Makombe:
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Everything had been set for the meeting and actually all councillors had taken their seats in the parlour waiting for the arrival of the EU ambassador.
However, I got a call informing us that the meeting had not been cleared.
It was shocking. We had planned to reach out to the EU for funding of critical projects such as revamping our water system and revival of self-help projects for vulnerable members of our city.
During his visit to Gweru, Olkkonen toured Whawha prison to assess conditions at the facility.
Meanwhile, secretary for the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana said government blocked the meeting because it was not cleared by the Ministry Foreign Affairs Affairs.