From Clayton Shereni Masvingo Correspondent
URBAN local authorities across the country were recently forced to contribute $32 million towards the construction of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s orphanage in Chiredzi, investigations by NewZimbabwe.com over the course of two weeks have revealed.
Auxillia officially opened the new Chambuta Children’s Home constructed through her Angels of Hope Foundation last month.
However, NewZimbabwe.com can exclusively reveal the construction of the children’s home has since become a hot potato in government and all 32 urban local authorities which were forced to fork out handsomely at a time most of them are struggling to provide basic services to their residents like water and sewer reticulation.
The issue is most troublesome in Masvingo City where official municipal sources confirmed to NewZimbabwe.com that they were indeed made to part with $1 million to carry refurbishments at the orphanage.
“It wasn’t just us (Masvingo) who did some work at the Chambuta orphanage. All the 32 local authorities did some work since this was Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) initiative,” a source said.
It also emerged the money in Masvingo was released without a full council resolution as specified at law.
“We must have made a resolution as councillors against the decision at some point. However, we were not holding full council meetings, but only special council meetings,” the source said.
Masvingo residents and local council officials also want answers on why the municipality decided to fork out funds for the Chiredzi project when it is struggling with service delivery.
Masvingo mayor Collen Maboke referred questions to Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa, who declined to comment, saying tersely: “For the Chambuta issue, I have no comment.”
However, Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) director, Anoziva Muguti blasted the local council, which he accused of injustice as the residents were finding it hard to access service delivery.
“As residents, we are extremely disappointed by such kind of behaviour. We are experiencing poor service delivery, refuse is not being collected on time and water is very scarce, but they go on to fork out money,” Muguti said.
Controversy has been rocking the Masvingo City Council over its relationship in funding the First Lady’s charity programmes.
Early this year, the local authority was on the brink of donating $170 000 towards a traditional food cooking competition hosted by Auxillia and later held at Masvingo Polytechnic College before residents protested and the donation was withdrawn.
These donations are reported to be sourced by top government officials from companies, state institutions with an intention of finding political and business favours from the First Family.