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Poverty stalk Mayors, councillors | Business Times

MOSES MATENGA

 

Mayors and councillors are living in abject poverty with many walking long distances, forced to sleep in dingy places and exposed to corruption due to difficult economic situations they find themselves in, it has been established.

Councillors, who are supposed to drive policies for local authorities where they also delve into multi-million dollar projects, were recently awarded a paltry ZWL$1 358 255 (US$80) up from a US$7 equivalent, too small an amount that have seen them failing to productively act and ensure service delivery.

Allowances for mayors and chairpersons were increased to ZWL$1 629 906 with their deputies set to earn ZWL$1 494 081.

Debating a motion in Parliament on the welfare of the elected local authority officials, Proportional Representation Nomsa Chaimvura (ZANU PF), said the councillors were in a sorry state and are being forced into beggars.

“The issue that I want to highlight is how they clothe themselves, they do not wear clothes which are honourable.  You find some councillors walking long distances in order to meet people whom they lead in their communities and sometimes they fail to meet stipulated meeting times,” she said.

“You find councillors requesting for transport from the people they serve.  This does not augur well with the people.  Rural councils are in a dire state, where you find people who do not have accommodation representing people as councillors,” she added.

MPs also suggested councillors be given loans.

Chakari Constituency Andrew Nkani said: “I was given a loan of US$40k by His Excellency the President. I was given that loan and I bought a stand. So, I am saying that councillors should be given enough money so that they have sustainable livelihoods.”

“An MP has a car but a councillor does not even have a motorbike. I am saying that a councillor should be given what he or she deserves. They must be viewed in a respectable manner just like Members of Parliament and Ministers. They must be given travelling allowances which can sustain them during meetings so that they can fend for their families.”

Hurungwe Central MP Richard Ziki said councillors must also be paid by the Treasury to improve their lives.

“I am advocating for an increase in their allowances and I would like to concur with the previous speaker that it will be better if they were paid by Treasury. I am also advocating for free duty vehicles for councillors.

“We have heard the plight of our councillors in terms of transport. I am sure they are also entitled to benefit from free duty since most civil servants are benefitting from it.

“You find sometimes a driver might actually buy the Mayor a drink because the Mayor might be broke. The allowances given to Mayors are so deplorable such that at one time, they made headlines in Bulawayo, I think it was during the Trade Fair.

“There were some Mayors who were found sleeping somewhere in the suburbs on bunk-beds, one on top of the other like school children and it came out in the newspaper, but they will be trying to save the little allowance that they will have been given.

“This might fight corruption in local authorities as councillors may connive with the Executive at local authority to do some fraudulent activity for their benefit.”

 

 


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