29 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Soldiers Refuse to Pay Mutare Council Bills

Mutare — The City of Mutare has appealed to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to help in the recovery of over US$1,5 million that government departments owe the struggling local authority.

This came out at last week's full council meeting where councilors said they were concerned by the non-payment of debts by government institutions. The acting mayor, George Jerrison said the local authority had raised the issue with Tsvangirai in an effort to recover the money.

"We have tried all means to recover the money from the government departments and I have already raised the issue with the Prime Minister so that he can have talks at the same level with some of the ministers heading these departments," said Jerrison.

"I said he should talk to people like (Emmerson) Mnangagwa so that we can recover money that the soldiers owe us."

According to the chairman of the finance committee, Tatenda Nhamare, as at May 2012, council was owed US$600 000 by the Ministry of Youth, Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Zimbabwe Republic Police (US$181 817,19), Ministry of Defence (US$286 012,95), Zimbabwe Prison Services (US$30 457,12) while Mutare Provincial Hospital was obliged to pay US$400 000.

Jerrison said soldiers at the ZNA's 3 Brigade unit based at Chikanga high density suburb in the city had told the city fathers that they would not pay because they liberated the country.

"It is unfortunate that everything is now being politicised," said Jerrison. "The soldiers have openly said they would not pay for the water because they are the ones who brought independence and they also defend the country."

Efforts to get a comment from Tsvangirai's spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka and ZNA public relations director Alphios Makotore were fruitless last week.

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