By Conrad Mupesa
Councilors from Makonde Rural District Council on Friday passed a vote of no confidence in the local authority’s chief executive, Mrs Lahlihwe Murefu, over allegations of incompetence.
During a special full council meeting that was also attended by legislators from the district, the councillors unanimously moved to suspend Mrs Murefu. The meeting was chaired by council chairperson Mr Davet Muzvidzwa.
Sources told The Herald that councillors decided to act after Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo recently identified the local authority as one of the worst performers in Mashonaland West province.
Minister Gumbo indicated that last year, Makonde RDC had used less than $200 000 from the allocation it received from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) and returned $300 000.
The councillors were unhappy that while council acquitted more than $300 000 to Zinara, the road network in the district was still appalling.
“We were shocked to be told by the minister that our council returned nearly $300 000 to Zinara as if we had no roads that needed attention,” Ward 5 Cllr Lammeck Ncube said in an interview.
“The CEO was sleeping on duty and failed to supervise her subordinates. In my ward, roads are in a deplorable state and need urgent attention.”
Cllr Eniwe Murumbika of Ward 4 said Mrs Murefu was not active, hence the need to suspend her.
“We resolved as councillors to suspend Mrs Murefu as she failed to execute her duties decisively,” said Cllr Murumbika. “She tried to defend herself over the matter before us, which she failed to do to Minister Gumbo as was done by other council chief executive officers.
“A team will approach the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde July Moyo, for a proactive head of the local authority.”
Mhangura legislator Dr Douglas Mombeshora recently told councillors and village heads that the Makonde RDC leadership had crippled development in the constituency and the other two constituencies in the district.
“They have failed to provide us with graders to rehabilitate the roads, yet they went ahead to return the allocation to Zinara,” he said. “An inquiry has to be made to see what went on at the council under the watch of (Mrs) Murefu.”
Makonde Member of Parliament Cde Kindness Paradza said the allocation could have helped in the rehabilitation of poor roads in his constituency.
He said the state of the roads had affected distribution of farming inputs and grain, as most roads were inaccessible during the rainy season.
Meanwhile, local authorities in Mashonaland West province intend to establish more recreational facilities designed not only to generate revenue for them, but to foster vibrant and inclusive societies, reports our Chinhoyi Bureau’s Blessings Chidakwa.
Government has been urging local authorities to play a leading role in the development of sports, which are viewed as critical in unifying the nation.
While Chinhoyi – Mashonaland West’s provincial capital – is mulling plans to construct a cricket centre, Kariba, in the same province, is entertaining plans of establishing a campsite. During a full council meeting recently, Chinhoyi Municipality proposed the construction of a cricket centre in Rujeko suburb.
“As the environmental committee, we recommend that council establish a cricket centre in Rujeko suburb,” reads part of the committee’s minutes.
In a separate statement, Kariba’s director of housing and community services Mr Godfrey Tichaona Magijani, said plans were underway for the establishment of a golf course in the resort town.
“Plans are underway to partner some foreign investors for the establishment of a golf course, conference facility, campsite, retail facilities and harbour at Mopani Bay, a 43-hectare piece of land overlooking the mighty Kariba Dam,” he said.
As enshrined in the Urban Councils Act, local authorities are pivotal in the promotion of sport and recreation through designation of land for related infrastructure establishment.
The commitment by the two councils to beef up recreational facilities in their towns derive from Government’s conviction that sport and recreation can serve as a catalyst to improving the overall health standards in the country