GOVERNMENT has asked local authorities in the greater Harare metropolitan area to contribute US$10m towards the hosting of Independence Day celebrations to be held in the capital.
This year, the main celebrations are set for Mt Darwin in Mashonaland Central province.In Harare, the celebrations are set for Glamis Arena.
In a letter addressed to the Chitungwiza Municipality, Harare Metropolitan secretary Tafadzwa Muguti said the total cost of the celebrations is US$10 million.
His letter was read out during a full council meeting on Tuesday by acting town clerk, Evangelista Machona.“The Harare Metropolitan State Occasions Committee hereby requests for a donation in cash or kind. We appreciate the support that Chitungwiza Municipality has always rendered to such occasions in the past years and look forward to your continued support to make this day a success. The areas requiring financial assistance are payment of the venue quoted at $10 million and feeding people among others,” the letter read.
Machona then said: “Last time we contributed US$1 000. Here we were not given the exact amount. It was just asking us to donate. We can donate US$1 500.”
Eventually, Chitungwiza councillors agreed that the municipality would contribute US$1 500 or equivalent towards the event.
Ruwa town secretary Kumbirai Madanhi confirmed receipt of the letter and told NewsDay that the council was yet to agree on a figure.“We have always been doing this and at times we donate in kind,” he said.
Harare mayor Jacob Mafume told NewsDay that he was not aware of such communication, while acting chamber secretary Norman Karidza said he was in a meeting.
Epworth Local Board chairperson Git July said he would check with town secretary Wilton Mhanda.
Chitungwiza residents told NewsDay that it was unwise for the municipality to spend scarce resources on celebrations in the face of poor service delivery.
“It’s very worrisome that the request has come when the council is facing several challenges. Clinics have no paracetamol and the council is struggling to pay its workers,” Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association secretary-general Gift Kurupati said.
Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trusts Chitungwiza chairperson, Obert Matsika. said: “Paying US$1 500 to the central government while workers are starving is a misdirected priority. That’s not fair. It’s better to give council workers US$100 each.
“Since Independence celebrations are a national event, the national treasurer is supposed to facilitate the funds, not a hard-pressed council.”