By Clayton Masekesa
MUTARE – The Commercial Federation of Manicaland Trust (CFMT) has said poor monitoring and control measures to safeguard revenue leakages and excessive corruption within the Mutare City Council has grossly affected service delivery.
CFMT is a newly formed organization that represents business interests in Mutare and Manicaland.
Addressing journalists at a Press Conference in Mutare recently, the CFMT chairman Phibeon Ngorima said there are a lot of revenue leakages in the local authority, which must be addressed urgently.
“Council has poor monitoring and control mechanisms which are causing revenue leakages. Instead of funds going towards service delivery, they are lining the pockets of council senior employees and councilors. The local authority needs to curb this problem. It has to improve its internal monitoring and control mechanisms,” said Ngorima.
“These are some of the glaring loopholes that we are trying to plug as a Trust. We are not fighting council but we are only advocating for transparent and accountable business operation and systems at council,” he added.
Ngorima said he was surprised when the organization was withdrawn from the council’s Budget Committee that is currently holding 2022 budget consultations citywide.
“Mutare City Council has been violating our rights as a Trust and we are surprised when we are excluded from the Budget Committee since we represent the business interest of the people of Mutare. The Mutare City Council has been violating the Urban Councils Act (UCA) for too long without being challenged,” Ngorima said.
Ismail Hussein who is a CFMT Trustee said the local authority was not transparent in its major operations.
“Mutare City Council operations are not transparent and it is concealing critical information from the residents who are the ratepayers. We are saying the residents must know what is happening within council because they have that right,” said Hussein.
“We have noted that in most cases the council bills are based on estimates and we have offered council to help correct the billing system to avoid the leakages for free of charge but council is yet to respond to our request,” he said.
Another Trustee Brian James said they had written to council seeking explanation on their withdrawal from the Budget Committee.
“The council withdrew us from the Budget Committee without due diligence. We have written to them seeking explanation because we feel that they are acting in bad faith,” James said.
Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi said Mutare City Council had come up with the idea of budget committee that will include residents’ representatives and various sectors within the city.
“The mandate of the budget committee is to drive the budgeting process. The committee has specific number from drawn from diverse representatives. Let’s give maximum support to the committee remember it is the first time that we have come up with this budget committee,” said Tandi.
Tandi said the committee will improve transparency and accountability resulting in less friction between council and residents.
“This will promote public transparency and accountability, as council we should open up. It is for us to bring ourselves together service providers and the beneficiaries of the service. So that we are able to map up a way forward,” he said.
“The budget committee will complement the efforts of the councilors who are the representatives of the committee. We also have representatives from our stakeholders that have technical knowledge, which we think will assist us in the crafting of the budget,” said Tandi.