Edson Dube is the programmes director of the United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust.

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Events

In 2010, a tender to upgrade the city's system was allegedly awarded to a company with no experience in major water infrastructure development. A US$330 000 deposit was paid to Shitazburg Enterprises which was awarded a US$660 000 tender to replace old and smaller pipes with larger ones in the Dangamvura water project. All this followed a 2009, Ministry of Finance advance of a US$3 million loan to Mutare City Council to finance water and sewer systems in high density areas. Part of the loan was earmarked to upgrade the Dangamvura high density area water infrastructure. After receiving the loan, the city fathers declared that the water problems would be solved within 12 months but eight years on, the company has failed to replace the pipes, neither has it refunded the US$330 000 paid as deposit.
The new mayor, Blessing Tandi, has maintained that Shitazburg Enterprises was corruptly awarded the lucrative tender. He said a councillor and two employees were implicated in corruptly awarding Shitazburg the tender. “The councillor (implicated in corruption) was reported to the Ministry (of Local Government) and was dismissed and two (council) officers were also charged and dismissed by council,” Tandi said.
In an interview, Councillor Exavia Upare, who chaired Mutare City Council’s procurement committee in 2010, was allegedly paid US$20 000 by Shitazburg Enterprises represented by its director Anderson Mwashita, to influence the tender in favour of his company. Upare denied the allegations, insisting that as the chairman of the city council procurement committee he did not have a final say on which company could be awarded a tender. But he admitted receiving US$20 000 from Shitazburg, which he claimed had nothing to do with the city council business. Upare would not reveal the nature of business he had done with Mwashita for which he was paid the US$20 000. In 2011, Upare was arrested and brought before Mutare Magistrate Court facing bribery charges arising from the tender issue. He was later dismissed as city councillor by the then Zimbabwe’s Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo. However, despite claiming his innocence, Mutare magistrate court found Shitazburg was also found guilty of fraud, in the tender deal. The company was fined US$500 plus restitution of US$300 000 to Mutare City Council but has since appealed against the lower court’s ruling at the High Court of Zimbabwe. The High Court has not yet sat to hear the case after initially throwing out the appeal for failing to submit his heads of arguments in time.
Edson Dube, programmes director, the United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust, alleged that some councillors and council officials got kick backs to award the tender to a company which had no capacity to provide the water pipes. Mayor Tandi revealed that the city was expecting a loan from the Ministry of Finance and African Development Bank, which after signing the tender processes for the project commences and expected completion date for the project is June 2020.” [1]

Speaking at a United Mutare Residents Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) meeting in May 2020, Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi claimed that council’s resolutions to buy Mayor and Town Clerk Joshua Maligwa each a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado would improve the City’s status. He was also questioned on his attendance at numerous workshops at the expense of ratepayers. “The issue of vehicles will give status to the city, and workshops empower council with ideas.” A resident, John Zimunya, remarked, “The city’s status is not judged by the type of vehicles driven by the mayor and managers, but by the level of service delivery”. “On vehicles, our Mayor was very clear that it has nothing to do with service delivery, but their status,” remarked UMRRT programme director Edson Dube. [2]

  1. Shady water tender leaves Mutare suburbs dry, The Zimbabwean, Published: 18 April 2019, Retrieved: 27 May 2020
  2. Pampering executives improves city status: Mayor, Newsday, Published: 27 May 2020, Retrieved: 28 May 2020