Last week, Kasukuwere suspended the town’s 25 councillors, including the Mayor Phillip Mutoti, over corruption allegations.
The councillors, accused of allegedly contravening Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act, are also charged of gross incompetence, misconduct and wilful violation of the law in the management of the council’s funds and affairs.
Chitrest said while it condemns corruption in any place, be it at a council, in government or in any sector, “it is, however, difficult for the residents and other stakeholders to believe that all the 25 councillors are corrupt”.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe gives the local authorities the independence to conduct their operations in their own initiatives. The central government is given a supervisory role by the Constitution, but not to interfere and cripple the governing by local authorities,” it said in a statement.
“The Local Government ministry is there to ensure that the local authorities serve the interests of the residents and ratepayers.
“Chitrest wonders if the move by the ministry will best cater for the interests of the residents and ratepayers who are currently being forced to endure a poor quality of service delivery among other challenges,” it added.
Kasukuwere has since appointed a commission led by Madzudzo Pawadyira.
The residents group also questioned the timing and logic behind the replacement of elected councillors by appointed commissioners who will be serving at Kasukuwere’s behest and accounting to the appointing authority and not the electorate.
Chitungwiza has had more than five commissions in the past for various matters, including land management and allocation, but most of these commissions, if not all, have failed to address the challenges bedevilling the town and its residents.
“The previous commissions have managed to drain the council’s revenue through allowances for commissioners and other related expenses whereas the quality of service delivery continues to deteriorate,” Chitrest claimed.
“The municipality’s debt has also ballooned unabated while these commissions perpetually milk the starving cash cow.
“Chitrest therefore calls for the ministry to rediscover its sober senses and put in place a framework that will ensure that the challenges being experienced by the municipality are dealt with and be brought to finality forthwith.”