Part of the gathering that attended the dialogue meeting at Mucheke Hall
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) in conjunction with the Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) on Wednesday, June 27, took their series of political dialogue to Ward 1 and 2 in the suburb of Mucheke.
Aimed at giving a platform to residents to engage in constructive dialogue with their aspiring councillors, the dialogue was attended by over 300 residents of the populous residential area.
Candidates who attended the meeting, which was held at Mucheke Hall, were Collen Maboke and Selina Maridza from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, Ruramai Muzenda and Kamurai Mutindi of Peoples Rainbow Coalition (PRC), Trust Mhaka; an independent candidate and Chipo Chirunga of MDC-T (Khupe faction).
Garcia Mundondo and Matthew Kubiku of Zanu PF did not show up at the event, raising speculation they might have boycotted for reasons best known to them.
Though there were some divergent opinions among the panelists, there was a general consensus that rates were too high and that council must never engage debt collectors against residents with arrears.
Maridza, who once served in council between 2008 and 2009 as deputy mayor, said it was unacceptable that council was particularly aggressive with ordinary residents who fail to pay their rates but was coy when dealing with government institutions that owe millions.
"The city council has deployed debt collectors in our suburbs but considering the economic environment, it is totally unacceptable because we know that government institutions owe large amounts of money and nothing has been done to them," said Maridza.
Government institutions like the provincial education department, police and army owe City of Masvingo in excess of US$30 million in unpaid rates.
Many participants at the dialogue meeting complained about favouritism in the allocation of serviced residential stands.
Council last year availed 70 high density residential stands that were then sold to some residents on the waiting list.
Council seldom services new land nowadays as the job has been taken over by cooperatives and private individuals that have been accused in some quarters as land barons.politics