via Kwekwe mayor shuns official vehicle | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo November 8, 2013
The mayor of Kwekwe has made history by turning down an official luxury vehicle – the first time a ZANU PF official has ever done so.
The mayor, Matenda Madzoke, said he could not be seen “driving a brand new expensive vehicle” on potholed city roads littered with uncollected refuse.
Instead, Madzoke asked that the $38,000 deposit already paid for the vehicle, a Toyota four-wheel-drive valued at $68,000, be used to purchase a garbage truck.
Madzoke’s decision appears to have endeared him to his MDC-T colleagues in the Kwekwe municipality who have applauded him for “prioritising service delivery”.
The Kwekwe municipality is MDC-T controlled, although the councillors in the city stunned many by defying their party’s orders and voted for a ZANU PF mayor.
MDC-T councillor for Mbizo Ward 3, Weston Masiya, told SW Radio Africa that although the mayor has not turned down the vehicle completely, he must be praised for putting “the people first”.
“What he has said is that we need to focus on service delivery first, and then the mayoral vehicle which was ordered by the last council, can follow.
“The mayor does not want it to seem as if, hardly a month into his term, he has already ordered himself a brand new car before attending to pressing issues.
“I want to praise the mayor for putting the people of Kwekwe first. He has shown that he knows what is wanted by the electorate, and that is the spirit we would want to see prevailing within our council,” Masiya said.
The MDC-T councillor said the Kwekwe municipality has generally been performing well except in the area of refuse collection.
Masiya revealed that the local authority has one garbage truck, bought in 1986, which was no longer fit for purpose. The municipality also has two tractors which are used for the same purpose but Masiya said these were not convenient as they don’t have tipping trailers.
Last year the Kwekwe municipality tabled a budget which would have seen it acquire five top-of-the-range vehicles for its managers and mayor for an eye-watering $450,000, according to a NewsDay report.
However the residents would have none of it, leading to calls for a government probe into allegations of corruption.
Last year, the MDC-T carried out a probe into 10 councils controlled by the party and unearthed gross corruption, incompetence and unaccountability.
The MDC-T report covered Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Chinhoyi, Marondera, Bindura, Kwekwe, Zvishavane and Gokwe, and noted a “shocking change of lifestyle of some councillors and sudden accumulation of movable and immovable property”.
ZANU PF mayor Madzoke is the second known high-ranking public official to decline a vehicle, the other being MDC ex-Minister David Coltart, who turned down a Mercedes E-class in 2009.
The current ZANU PF administration is expected to cost the country many millions of dollars in various perks, with $20 million already spent on purchasing luxury vehicles, including Mercedes Benz and SUVs for Cabinet ministers.
These purchases come at a time when millions of Zimbabweans are on the verge of starvation, hospitals are in a state of collapse and water shortages are at critical levels in most urban areas.
Just last week the finance minister said the mineral-rich country was broke, and suspended announcing the national budget.