BY MOSES MATENGA
The MDC-T dominated Harare City Council has resolved to support first lady Auxilia Mnangagwa’s projects amid accusations that the Douglas Mwonzora-led outfit is abusing the local authority’s resources for political expediency.
A full council meeting last Tuesday endorsed a resolution of the education, health and housing committee of July 29, 2021 that paved the way for partnerships between the first lady and council.
The resolution said the City of Harare was already involved in Mnangagwa’s projects that included “(i) Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba and Nharirire Yemusha.”
Council said partnering the first lady was part of its corporate social responsibility programme.
“That council approves in retrospect, the participation of council officials and further authorises participation in the forthcoming programmes being organised by the office of the first lady,” reads the minutes.
In justifying the council’s involvement, acting town clerk Mabhena Moyo said since 2004, the City of Harare used to work with various departments in among other things, removing children from the streets and placing them in the various homes with the hope of reuniting them with their families or relatives.
Moyo said Harare was supporting the first lady in the removal of street kids from the streets in the city to Chambuta Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Chiredzi.
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Harare, the report said, will be open to future participation in philanthropic work by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife.
But the MDC Alliance said it was inappropriate for local authorities to use ratepayers’ money to support private initiatives by the first lady.
“We know she is working on a programme to do with street kids and using councils and mayors to pay for those services.
“We are against that. It is inappropriate and abuse of funds meant for service delivery at a time it is at its all-time low,” MDC Alliance secretary for local government Sessel Zvidzai said.
“Councils never budgeted to assist the first lady to do her job.
“At worst they should be getting the money from the Social Welfare ministry not to compromise services through those unnecessary costs.
“It is irresponsible and unnecessary and I think the people should just refuse to fund such activities away from their local authorities. It is unfair and it is bad.
“MDC Alliance councillors would not have allowed the inappropriate deployment of the people’s resources so the recalls are a choreograph to enable Zanu PF to, without any checks or balances, enjoy more and more free space for corruption without anybody questioning.
“You can see that happening everywhere.
“Infrastructure is being done by connected people linked to the regime, roads the same is happening.”
Mwonzora’s party has recalled most of the councillors that support the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance in Harare.
Only three councillors, including suspended mayor Jacob Mafume, belong to the MDC Alliance.