25 Jan 2017 - CHIREDZI - Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (CHIRRA) has come out guns blazing against the Chiredzi Town Council for shutting down Chigarapasi beer hall, the largest beer lounge in the country.
The beer hall was shut down on December 31, 2016 following a directive from the Ministry of Local Government instructing council to do away with loss-making enterprises.
CHIRRA spokesperson, Jonathan Muusha Mupamombe castigated council for following what he called unreasonable directives from the ministry.
He accused Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere of corruption saying he failed to take action after an audit which exposed gross misuse of council funds that could otherwise have been used to keep the beer hall running.
"The Beer Hall does not belong to the council; one of the key stakeholders was Nesbit and Partners who left it in the hands of the council to benefit the community. They should have consulted the residents first before taking any steps."
"As a resident association, we are taking action and we have made an application to the police for clearance to meet the council and discuss the issue. If this fails, we will write to the minister," said Muusha.
Town secretary, Charles Muchatukwa, however, defended the decision to close down the beer hall saying it no was no longer sustainable to continue operating it.
"Residents don't decide on everything that council should do although they are our stakeholders. Their main duty is to elect councillors who make most of the decisions on their behalf.
"People were engaged during budget consultative meetings. We incurred losses from running that beer hall and we closed it down as per the ministerial directive. We are still to advertise so that those willing to rent it can do so. All speculations that there are people who have already been given the right to rent it are all lies," said Muchatukwa.
District Administrator (DA), Ndeya Nyede, also spoke favourably on the closure of the beer hall saying it no longer made commercial sense to run it.
"A lot of losses were incurred and the decision to close it is right because money will be saved for investment in infrastructure," said Nyede.news