Faced with crippling water problems and a host of other service delivery challenges, the cash-strapped City of Masvingo recently paid $169 260 towards First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s traditional food cooking competition which was held at Masvingo Polytechnic College.
The amount translates to US$2 015 on the official interbank rate.
The traditional food cooking competition was held on March 24 and the city council was requested to foot the total cost of the competition to the tune of $338 520 equivalent to US$4 030.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee minutes dated March 22, 2021 show that council was asked to donate towards the cost of hosting the traditional cooking competition held by the First Lady.
“It was reported that the council was requested to donate towards the cost of hosting the cooking competition to be held at Masvingo Polytechnic College at a date to be advised. The competition would be hosted by the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa.
“The total cost of the competition was US$4 030 which was translated to RGTGS 338 520. The committee noted that council could not pay the full cost of the event but agreed to pay half of the cost which was US$2 015,” reads the minutes.
Mayor Collen Maboke told TellZim that he was not aware of the developments and said he would confirm with the Finance director.
Acting Town Clerk engineer Edward Mukaratirwa said he had no comment on the issue.
“The request came in from the minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira. He wrote to all local authorities looking for donations and the city council responded.
“It is our responsibility to help when need be. It was the city council’s donation which made the event successful. This is the First Lady we are talking about and we know in future we may need something from her as a local authority,” said the councilor.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (Murra) spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba lashed out at the city council saying the decision was diabolic, inconsiderate and counterproductive.
“We are so much infuriated as residents to learn that our council donated over US$2 000 to a cooking competition at a time residents are confronted with the worst service delivery ever. Residents in Rhodene and other suburbs have spent over two months without tap water but the council finds it sensible to donate that money to a traditional food cooking competition.
“We feel that that this is a case of misplaced priorities. How could they do such a thing when they could have sunk a borehole for residents to access water? We do not know how these decisions are made and they should consult us,” said Mtimba.
He said the council must bring back the money and put it to good use for the benefit of the ratepayers.
“The Finance committee should be brought to account. This is diabolic, senseless and inconsiderate. They want to bootlick the First Lady by sponsoring her and donating money when we are not getting the services we are paying money for.
“Our roads are in a terrible shape and are infested with pfumvudza-like pot holes and garbage is not collected yet you see a whole city council sitting and agreeing to donate to a traditional food cooking competition.
“We want our money back. We will not tolerate that as residents,” said Mtimba.