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Residents irked by Mayor's defensive statements on purchase Mercedes
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
August 17, 2009

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is disappointed by Mayor Masunda's defensive statements on Council's acquisition of a high profile and expensive Mercedes Benz for him. The Mayor's statements have done nothing except to provoke the anger of the ratepayers who are failing to put food on their tables because most of their earnings are going to the City's Treasury and yet little is being done to improve service delivery.

The Mayor's arguments that the car was budgeted for and that it is Council property do not hold water. Residents are not concerned about what has, and has not been budgeted for but what they want is to see their hard earned money being put to good use. Furthermore, when the City of Harare announced its 2009 budget, nothing was mentioned about the purchase of an expensive car for the Mayor. The Mayor must note that the purchase of an expensive car at a time when the Council is making noise about being bankrupt and harassing residents with letters of final demand is reflective of a Council that has a serious problem of misdirected priorities. Residents understand that the Mayor also needs to drive a good car as he goes about his official duties but would it not be more reasonable to purchase a less expensive but good car? It is a known fact that the Council has not done much to show for its existence at Town House taking into consideration the poor state of service delivery in Harare. Roads are flowered by pot holes; street and traffic lights are not working and they have not been maintained; piles of garbage are littered at most street corners in the residential areas and shopping centers; raw sewerage is still a dreaded neighbor in most high density areas. In spite of all these calamities, the City of Harare is harassing residents with letters of final demand and threatening them with legal action. How can the Mayor have the guts to say that the residents' complaints are not founded?

Residents know that the car is part of Council property but they would rather have garbage trucks to remove the menacing garbage piles rather than have an expensive Mercedes that will only benefit one person. It is also unexpected of the Mayor to brag about the numerous personal cars that he has. If he does not need the car why is he accepting it? The Mayor must also remember that when he got into office he said that he has his own things and that he would not allow Council to pamper him with the ratepayers' money. The Mayor also graced the media talking about his various connections in the business world and made promises that he would turn around the state of service delivery in Harare. Residents want to see things happening on the ground and it is the job of the Mayor to make sure that residents get value for their money.

This move is a blatant insult to residents who have been served with final letters of demand under the guise that the city has run out of money. Residents maintain that they will not pay for non-existent services.

CHRA remains committed to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality and affordable municipal (and other) services on a non partisan basis.

Visit the CHRA fact sheet

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