Mutare City receives massive backlash over forex rates

MUTARE – Mutare City Council, which is reeling under poor service
delivery and allegations of corruption, has received a backlash from
residents over its move to charge bills in United States dollars.

The MDC-led Mutare City Council (MCC) resolved to charge its bills
in United States dollars at a special full council meeting held on
Tuesday.

There have been massive rumblings of discontent from the already
economically distressed residents who expressed grave concerns on
the council’s new initiative.

The mainstream residents’ representative organisation – United Mutare
Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) – on Thursday through its vice
board chairperson, Jephias Mundondo, said MCC’s move, which was
done without the consultation of residents and other stakeholders, would torch a massive backlash from the angry residents.

“Residents and ratepayers are earning their salaries in Zimdollars and charging them in US dollars is just being mischievous,” Mundondo said.

People will throw back at you what you throw at them. As UMRRT, we
will expect some consultations where residents can say their views,”

he said.

Declaring US-dollar payments and raising rates in this time of COVID
-19, when ratepayers and businesses are struggling, is not in the
interest of Mutare residents,
” Mundondo explained.

Contacted for a comment, Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi said he was not in the full council meeting when the resolution was made and referred
this publication to the deputy mayor, Kudakwashe Chisango.

When the meeting was held I was not there, so I am not in a position
to say anything because I do not know what the final resolution was.

I can refer you to the deputy mayor (Chisango),” Tandi said.

Chisango referred the matter to the MCC Mutare spokesperson, Spren Mutiwi, who promised to issue a statement regarding the issue.

Mutiwi had not issued a statement at the time of going to Press.

Efforts to get a comment from the town clerk – Joshua Maligwa – proved
fruitless as his mobile phone continuously went unanswered.

A source in the MCC who was present in the full cou, however, meeting who attended the full council special meeting, confirmed the development:

We held a special full council meeting on Tuesday, and we resolved to
charge the bills in US dollars.

What we resolved is that commercial and industrial entities will be charged the US dollars with immediate effect, then residents will pay starting from October.

“Council is facing challenges in procuring water chemicals, among other
necessities required for service delivery as we are being charged in
US dollars, so there was no option but to arrive at this resolution.”