Coun­cil­lor in ‘em­ploy­ment scam’

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

BU­L­AWAYO Ward 24 Coun­cil­lor Arnold Bati­rai con­tin­ues to clash with res­i­dents in his ward with lat­est ac­cu­sa­tions be­ing his al­leged em­ploy­ment of mem­bers of his 30 July cam­paign team to the ward’s com­mu­nity sweep­ing group.

Res­i­dents in the ward have fur­ther said some of those em­ployed by Clr Bati­rai were not even res­i­dents from the ward, which was a re­quire­ment when one is em­ploy­ing peo­ple to be part of the com­mu­nity sweep­ing groups.

This emerged dur­ing a meet the coun­cil­lor gath­er­ing co-or­di­nated by the Bu­l­awayo Pro­gres­sive Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (BPRA) and Zim­babwe Lawyers for Hu­man Rights.

This was the first time Clr Bati­rai has for­mally met res­i­dents in the ward as he has been strug­gling to hold ward meet­ings since his elec­tion in the 30 July har­monised elec­tions.

Ward 24 is the only ward in the city that failed to hold a bud­get con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing as res­i­dents re­fused to be ad­dressed by the em­bat­tled coun­cil­lor, ac­cus­ing him of rig­ging his way into the coun­cil cham­bers. Res­i­dents fur­ther ac­cuse him of not liv­ing in the ward.

“(Clr) Bati­rai has been do­ing as he wishes in the ward, re­cently he em­ployed peo­ple who we all know stay in Ward 25 to be part of the com­mu­nity sweep­ing groups in Ward 24.

“We be­lieve he was pay­ing them back be­cause some of them were in his cam­paign team, if he says we are ly­ing he should ex­plain to ev­ery­one where Thandiwe Dube lives and whether or not she was in his cam­paign team,” said a mem­ber of the pub­lic who de­clined to be named.

In an in­ter­view Clr Bati­rai re­futed the al­le­ga­tions say­ing he was not re­spon­si­ble for draw­ing up the names of those em­ployed to the com­mu­nity sweep­ing groups but had given this man­date to the res­i­dents.

He said af­ter fail­ing to ad­dress a col­lec­tive res­i­dents meet­ing, he has adopted what he called “square meet­ings” at­tended by only a few peo­ple to spell out his vi­sion and pro­grammes for the ward.

“Af­ter the dis­rup­tion of bud­get con­sul­ta­tive meet­ings I then adopted square meet­ings to sen­si­tise the whole ward about de­vel­op­men­tal projects but in small units.

“On the is­sue of dis­rup­tions I think there are few peo­ple who are still in that spirit, the rest are heal­ing and work­ing as a team.

“As for the em­ploy­ment part I gave this man­date to square lead­ers who gave me the list which I rub­ber stamped and for­warded to coun­cil, I know no one or re­lated to any­one who was em­ployed, be­sides I was not around when these com­mu­nity sweep­ing groups started work­ing,” said Clr Bati­rai.

The coun­cil­lor laughed off al­le­ga­tions that he did not live in the ward claim­ing he has been a res­i­dent of Nketa 6 for the past 10 years.

“Any­one who is ped­dling those al­le­ga­tions should come to Num­ber 416 in Nketa 6 or come to my of­fice at Nketa Hous­ing Of­fice, this is all part of a ploy to dis­credit me but it will never work,” he said.

Some of the res­i­dents even walked out of the meet­ing, say­ing they could not stand his lead­er­ship style.

Ward 25 Clr Mzama Dube also at­tended the meet­ing and urged res­i­dents to work to­gether for the de­vel­op­ment of the ward.

— @nqot­shili

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