President Tsvangirai Spends Day in Chitungwiza [press release]

President Morgan Tsvangirai spent the whole day in Chitungwiza today interacting with residents and assessing the state of the MDC-led council’s delivery of services to the residents of this town of over a million people.
The President was accompanied by Chitungwiza mayor Phillip Mutoti, councilors and MPs from the area.
The MDC leader began his tour at the Town Centre where he was shown the Roadport, the new cross-border bus termini in the town.He then visited a popular informal traders’ market known as Kujambanja where he spoke to ordinary residents selling their wares. The vendors told him they had resorted to informal trading because of the massive employment in the country, estimated at almost 90 percent.
From the informal trade centre, the President went to Seke South clinic, where the MDC-led council expanded and upgraded its maternity services.
The mayor then took the MDC leader to the multi-million dollar sewage treatment plant, one of the best in Southern Africa, which needs $4,5 million to start functioning. It was becoming difficult for the cash-strapped council to mobilize the funds needed, the mayor said.
The mayor painted a bleak financial predicament of the town, which collects $900 000 per month but has a salary bill of $1,5 million, leaving nothing for service delivery.
The mayor attributed the parlous state of the coffers to the populist stance taken by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo ahead of the last election, in which he ordered all local authorities to write off debts, despite government being the biggest debtor of the mainly MDC-run local authorities.
President Tsvangirai was also shown the Nyatsime residential area, with more than 15 000 new stands, the majority of which Zanu Pf supporters have parceled to themselves. The mayor said when he went there at one point to assess progress on the servicing of the area; he was almost beaten up by the Zanu PF thugs.
President Tsvangirai was mobbed when he interacted with residents at Chigovanyika shopping centre in St Mary’s and at Zengeza 2 shopping centre.
Addressing residents and the council leadership at Chikwanha shopping centre, President Tsvangirai said he was saddened by the sad predicament of the council and its residents.
He said in Chitungwiza, just like the other areas he had visited, the people were suffering and struggling to look after their families. He said the party’s local government department would see how it could assist MDC-run councils to deliver services to the people. He condemned the populist Zanu PF decision to write off debts, which he said had put councils in an invidious position but was pleased by the efforts being made by the MDC-run council.
He commended them for constructing vending stalls, buying six new refuse collection trucks and improving provision of water to residents, among other things.