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» » » Chiredzi MPs, Cllrs clash over devolution funds

                                                  Roy Bhila
Beatific Gumbwanda
CHIREDZI- Leadership here is at logger heads over the stewardship of the $610 000 devolution money given to the Chiredzi Rural District Council (RDC) with the local authority resolving to construct their new offices while legislators in the district demand that the money be channeled towards projects that benefits people.
A few weeks ago, Chiredzi RDC councillors resolved to use the $610 000 to construct new offices but Members of Parliament Roy Bhila and Farai Musikavanhu have castigated the council saying the money should be channeled towards people project.
Chiredzi district is one of the biggest and poorest districts in Masvingo Province with poor health facilities, infrastructure and educational facilities and it got a huge chunk of devolution funds owing to the high poverty index.
Chiredzi RDC chairman, Edward Matsilele, said they made consultations over the use of the devolution funds and have shelved the motion of constructing their offices and channel the money towards development projects.
"Considering that we do not have offices as a local authority, we had thought of constructing our offices but through various consultations from stakeholders, we have redirected the funds towards improving our rural health facilities," said Matsilele.
ZANU PF Secretary for information, Ronald Ndava reprimanded the local authority for failing to realise the importance and use of devolution funds as he called construction of council offices using devolution funds as pagan.
Ndava said devolution funds are aimed at improving lives through upgrading health systems, infrastructure (roads and bridges), irrigation schemes as well as educational facilities.
"Devolution funds should just target life changing projects like irrigation schemes such as Chilonga and Rupangwana.
“The grassroots should feel it, the devolution thrust is not aimed at benefiting local authority but constituencies they serve. Construction of local authority offices using devolution money is nonsensical and rubbish,” said Ndava.
Chiredzi North MP, Roy Bhila said council was not supposed to make resolutions before consulting stakeholders as devolution money was supposed to target life changing projects, which they will identify rather than diverting all the money on the construction of offices.
"Devolution funds should devolve to the wards. We wrote to the council chairman and minister complaining over directing all the devolution chunk to the construction of their offices as if they do not have anywhere to use, the money should cascade to life changing projects in wards, not only my wards but wherever there is need," said Bhila.

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