Residents of Ward 10, 11 and 12 in Mutare which covers parts of Murambi, Boadervale, Morningside, Tigerskloof and Hospital Hill have given the Mutare City Council an ultimatum to address service delivery issues or face a rates boycott. This came out at a residents meeting organized by the United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust meeting held at Hillside Sports Club on Tuesday, 3 April 2018.
Recently, the City of Mutare Council has come under fire from residents for failing to offer value added services to the residents. Topping the issues being raised by residents in the city are issues concerning the non-collection of refuse, the poor road network in the city, and the failure to use the money raised from the payments of rates to provide such critical services for residents.
Former Mutare Mayor Brian James was on record challenging the city fathers to respond to their petition which compels the council to address service delivery issues as a matter of urgency.
“The city council has to call for a special council meeting to respond to our petition. We have become tired of the hide and seek games which the council is playing. We are now aware of the delaying tactics which they use to avoid addressing service delivery issues. We are therefore giving them some days to address these issues before we call for a rates boycott,” said Mr James.
Addressing participants at the meeting, Mutare based human rights lawyer, Passmore Nyakureba said the money raised from rates payment is for the residents, and as such it has to be used for the residents.
“The council has to respond to the issues raised by residents on offering good services to the residents. If the council fails to react, the residents can take the council to court to find out how the council is spending the revenue being collected. Rates money is our money. Thus going forward the council can be given a thirty day notice before further action can be taken, “ said Mr Nyakureba.
UMRRT representative, Eddie Dube, said they were going to write the council to inform them on the issues which were raised by the residents. He said, “We have sent our petition to the council raising our concerns on the issue of service delivery. Now we are going to inform again that the residents are mulling the idea of a rates boycott if the council fails to address the concerns being raised. These concerns are not only for these wards, but all the wards are equally worried and in support of this action. “
Dube lamented the lack of communication from the city council and said that sometimes the councilors were at fault for failing to organize feedback meetings that can highlight their action plans. However, reacting to issues raised on the day, Clr Biza and Clr Kagoro admitted things have not been good for the city.
Kagoro attributed this to the type of management at council which he said was “ rotten from the top”. He mentioned that it was the reason why a new broom in the form of the new town clerk ws brought to the fore. Said Clr Kagoro, “Changes cannot happen overnight, but lam happy that we have brought in a new town clerk with a hope of addressing administration challenges. The council is collecting close to $1,2 million monthly, but half of it is going towards debt payment and salaries. The council is bringing the wage bill down and we are calling upon residents to be cooperative and work with the council for a common good.