New Zimbabwe (London)

8 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Activist Loots U.S $4000 From Harare, Daily

FAILED Zanu PF councillor and former Harare province youth league leader, Jim Kunaka, has been accused of looting council funds meant to pay salaries for the local authority's work force.

Harare deputy mayor, Thomas Muzuwa claimed that Kunaka, who lost Harare province youth chairmanship in Zanu PF to Godfrey Gomwe, is alleged to have been taking home in excess of $4,000 daily from Mbare terminus while council was receiving nothing.

Muzuwa claimed that Kunaka, who thought to be one of the leaders of the notorious Chipangano group, had become a law unto himself despite being a junior staffer in the housing department of council.

"The money from Mbare is going into the pocket of one individual - Jim Kunaka - while council is not getting a cent. He (Kunaka) has the power to hold (town clerk Tendai) Mahachi and tell him that he needs money," Muzuwa claimed.

"We have a town clerk who just sits there in his office while some people are abusing council resources.

"We have so many council properties, so many market stalls in Mbare not bringing anything to council. Every day over 400 buses use Mbare termini and are charged $10 each but council is not getting anything," Muzuwa said.

Muzuwa made the allegations while debating on a motion moved by Wellington Chikombo to give the town clerk, Mahachi, a two-week ultimatum to pay council workers or resign.

"Honestly we can't allow an individual like Kunaka in grade sixteen to take $4000 on a daily basis at the bus termini when council is not getting, anything.

"This is an offence which lands some to be fired because it is his duty to push his directors to work and bring money," Muzuwa said.

Chikombo said morale was at rock bottom among council employees while "certain officials within the local authority were living large".

"Morale is very low and council has to do something as a matter of urgency, this is a ticking time bomb which will haunt council in the near future," he said.

"The town clerk should ensure that we pay the workers in two weeks or we act on him for failing on his mandate."

Mahachi, who survived suspension last month, thanks to the intervention of local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, is set for another face-off with councillors over the unpaid salaries.

Council workers have gone for months without salaries while directors were said to be drawing massive pay packages without fail.

"How do we expect our workers to come to work when they are not paid? This is exposing them to corruption and as councillors we must do something," Chikombo said.

Contributing to the same motion, a Zanu PF councillor said it was not possible for Kunaka to be so powerful that Mahachi could not deal with him and alleged that the former youth boss was working with some directors.

"I think he is working in cahoots with the directors who are getting cash from him, we have to deal with the director and not the town clerk," she said.

Efforts to get comment from Kunaka were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

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