Gweru residents are up in arms with the city fathers after it emerged that the local government authority spent over $3 million on a three-day strategic workshop held in Masvingo last month.
This was revealed during a recent virtual Constituency Indaba facilitated by Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD).
A report read during the Indaba claims that the city fathers squandered $3.5 million in a space of three days during a strategic workshop. Reads the ZIMCODD report:
Gweru city council could have developed Mtapa market or addressed other binding constraints the city is faced with and improve service delivery, however, due to misplaced priorities ZW$ 3.5 million was squandered in three days by a few individuals while the majority of the city dwellers languish in abject poverty.
Residents in the Midlands capital expressed disappointment in the council’s expenditure and choice of priorities.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (GRRA) Director, Cornelius Selitiwe said they have for long called for rationality at the townhouse but this has fallen on deaf ears. Said Selitiwe:
We have always been complaining about the council’s priorities, they prioritize things that disadvantage the residents. We understand the workshop was for strategic planning but why travel all the way to Masvingo when we have a lot of recreational facilities here in Gweru.
We are now disadvantaged in terms of service delivery and we are not happy at all, this can’t be tolerated.
However, City of Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe justified the spending saying that the workshop was inevitable and was going to help improve service delivery in the city. He said:
We spent the money on a strategic planning workshop that was held in Masvingo. Residents always blame council for overspending, even when we hold a workshop like this one to plan for the development and ways in which we can run the city.
Gweru, like all other local authorities, has been failing to provide public goods and services such as water, sewer reticulation, street lighting and garbage collection and road maintenance.