Zimbabwe: Cash-Strapped Kwekwe City to Pamper Councillors With Tablets

The Kwekwe City Council is set to pamper its councillors with expensive phone tablets at a time the local authority is struggling to provide basic services, it has emerged.

City Mayor Angeline Kasipo has described the expenditure as progressive.

At a full council meeting recently, the city's procurement department promised councillors that they were going to receive their tablets, "without fail before month end (July)".

Insiders told this publication that each tablet was budgeted at a cost of US$700.

"Definitely the councillors are going to get tablets before month-end like indicated by the procurement department.

"Each tablet was budgeted at US$700 before the outlawing of the multi-currency regime.

"I think the tablets will be procured using the equivalent amount on the interbank market," a source within council said.

Kwekwe City have 14 councillors.

Mayor Kasipo confirmed that councillors are set to receive tablets but could not disclose the amounts to be spent.

"It is true that councillors are going to receive tablets. The gadgets were budgeted for even though I am not privy to the procurement figures," said the MDC official.

She described the move as progressive.

"This is a progressive move considering that communication between councillors and management was a challenge. Even when we wanted to have meetings, messages would be communicated by word of mouth which is very retrogressive.

"The move is therefore progressive as it will make communication easier for the city fathers," Kasipo said.

Kwekwe City has been at loggerheads with residents over misplaced priorities.

Recently, council adopted a supplementary budget which will see rates increase by over 300% if to be endorsed by government.

Acting Finance Director January Mukandapi said council plans to increase the budget from $26, 9 million to $41 million so as to "cushion the city and make service delivery possible".

"The council has misplaced priorities. It is a council which lacks imagination in harnessing resources at its disposal," Kwekwe Residents and Rate Payers Development Association Secretary General Alex Homela recently told journalists at a press conference.

"Instead of taking responsibility the council always burdens residents with tariff increases despite the fact that residents are already overwhelmed and are failing to service already existing debts."

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