Zimbabwe: Councillors’ Wings Clipped On Purchase of Electronic Gadgets

COUNCILLORS can no longer pass a resolution for the purchase of electronic equipment such as cellphones or tablets without a Government approval as their penchant for luxury has been affecting service delivery, the parent Ministry of Local Government has said.

This comes as most councils have been at loggerheads with ratepayers for prioritising the buying of gadgets ahead of offering quality services.

Harare City councillors recently clashed with residents after splashing about US$23 000 on iPads at a time the city was battling to secure foreign currency to procure essential water treatment chemicals.

In a recent circular sent to all town clerks and secretaries titled, “Councillors allowances and perks”, the Secretary for Local Government and Public Works Mr Zvinechimwe Churu outlined the procedures of purchasing electronic equipment.

“Approval of the honourable minister shall be acquired when council wishes to procure electronic equipment such as cellphones or tablets. The justification, budget line and budgeted cost for such equipment, cost and conditions for the use of such equipment shall be included in the application to the Honourable Minister,” said Mr Churu.

He said the ministry had also placed restrictions on the holding of workshops, seminars, training and similar events outside juridisiction including look and learn visits. His authority wouldl be sought 14 days prior to the holding of such events. On foreign travel, Mr Churu said Cabinet authority was required for travel by councillors and officials outside Zimbabwe prior to departure as allowances were to be set at levels approved by Treasury.

Mr Churu said councillors were not entitled to a commercial or industrial stand and those wishing to acquire such stands were required to follow normal council procedures and meet all set down requirements.

Mr Churu said each councillor had been granted free parking and a free grave during their tenure.

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