Workers beat up Chitungwiza Mayor over unpaid wages

Chitungwiza Town Council

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
06 June 2014

Barely a week after Apostolic worshippers beat the police in Harare, the extent of public anger with authorities was revealed Thursday when angry workers assaulted the Mayor of Chitungwiza over unpaid wages.

Reports said 50 irate workers barged into a meeting at the Zengeza council offices where two of them assaulted Mayor Phillip Mutoti as he was discussing the issue of salaries with an administrator. Mutoti said the two assaulted him as he tried to calm them down and it took the municipal police to restrain them. Describing the experience as his ‘worst ever’, Mutoti said had the police not intervened his assailants would have ‘left’ him ‘for the dead’.

The cash-strapped Chitungwiza Municipality has not paid its workers for more than 10 months. Recently Mutoti revealed that the council needed as much as $2m a month to finance its wage bill and the local authority was collecting less than half of that in revenue.

The local authority’s case is not isolated, as most municipalities countrywide are struggling with their wage bills due to a decline in revenue. The situation was worsened by a government directive which ordered all the local authorities to cancel residents’ debts ahead of elections last year. Municipalities have said since that directive residents have not been paying their charges.

But corruption has also been blamed for the Chitungwiza council’s woes. Two months ago council workers told Parliament of a scam involving a secret account from which 18 council managers were withdrawing $235,000 a month. The council subsequently fired those workers, accusing them of violating its code of conduct.

Community leaders told SW Radio Africa that tension has been bubbling under the surface for too long and the beating of the mayor was bound to happen. Chitungwiza Residents Trust spokesperson Marvelous Khumalo condemned the beating of the mayor but said the incident indicated that the situation at the council has ‘gotten out of hand.’ He urged the government to chip in and ‘correct the anomaly.’

Khumalo’s comments come after public impatience with the ZANU PF government is already stretched to dangerous levels. Addressing local clerics in Rome on Monday Pope Francis said Zimbabweans ‘have reached their human limit, and do not know where to turn’, a situation which the ZANU PF government seems to be oblivious to.

As the Pope was saying this Budiriro worshippers who beat up the police as they tried to close down their Church were being hauled to court amid heavy riot police presence. It also emerged that at the African Union the ZANU PF government was pushing for the criminalization of popular uprisings, such as occurred in North Africa, during which many oppressive regimes have been swept away.



8 Responsesto “Workers beat up Chitungwiza Mayor over unpaid wages”

  1. wilbert says:

    How can someone, especially those lowly paid workers who have no saving to fall back on, be expected to go for ten months without being paid! This is totally inhuman.

    Mugabe rigged the 2013 elections but now he finds he cannot rig the economic recovery. The tyrant should just admit he has failed to rule the country and allow for the delayed reforms to be implemented and the free and fair elections to be held. This problem is not going away and sooner or later Mugabe will be forced to leave!

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      What is the meaning of ‘rigging the economic recovery’, my pikinini? Are these terms sensible and meaningful dofo?

      • informer says:

        You got to be a brainless and foolish Matbili bumlicker to not understand what it means.
        With fools like u at the helm, surely Zimbabwe will remain stuck in reverse gear!!

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          You need to give an explanation if you know the meaning of the terms. But as idiot, you have no clue, my pikinini. Chimbwido Warvet, is not in the employ of this government but is supportive of some of its policies. If you can accuse me for giving my unwavering and unflinching support, then it will be a completely different matter altogether, my pikinini. Ok pikinini?

        • wilbert says:

          Now that the tyrant finds he cannot rig economic recovery, his grip on power has never been shaker! He is failing to hold Zanu PF together because the money, well-paid jobs, former white-owned farms, super-glue in his political patronage system that kept all the various factions loyal to him, are gone. There is nothing left for him to loot and give away. The centre can no longer hold, things fall apart!

  2. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    It has always been the responsibility of town councils to pay the wage bill for their employees. Traditionally, town councils have been known to generate their own funds to pay for their operations without government involvement.
    They used to run beer halls that were huge sources of income for town councils’ operations but these are now in mothballs due to incompetence ad outright theft of public funds by council officials.
    Until such time members of the public sense and vote for a political party that will take seriously the welfare of its employees, the MDC-T led town councils will continue to abuse its employees for as long as they are allowed to run town councils of the country.
    Well, employees for the Chitungwiza town council should have detained the Mayoral car and broken his fcking jaw for corruption and incompetency. All directors who are using those flashy cars should be asked to handover their cars to be auctioned to pay for the wage bill for employees who have not been paid for months.

  3. Sambarafuta says:

    Well doe, Chitungwiza workers. Continue beating up the mayor and his executives and councilors till you get paid. This is the “language” that the authorities understand!

  4. Cde Nikuv Riggington says:

    Zero
    Ability
    No
    Unity
    Pathetic
    Failure

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