MUTARE– There was drama at Civic Centre in Mutare on Monday as councilors almost converted the council house into a boxing ring over the funding of sporting activities by the local authority.
This impasse followed a lengthy deliberation over a resolution to rescind funding of sporting activities by the Finance Committee during Thursdays full council meeting, with a handful of city fathers supporting the decision.
Mutare Mayor Tatenda Nhemarare struggled to bring the house to order as emotions reigned supreme with councillors openly insulting and threatening each other.
Incoming Town Clerk Joshua Maligwa, attending his first full council meeting following his appointment, made desperate but futile appeals to the city fathers to respect protocol.
“The mayor should not be struggling to bring the house in order. When we are debating policy issues in the chamber we are a parliament, a local parliament with important service delivery issues to resolve,” said Maligwa.
Some councilors who were pro sponsorship argued that council had already made a commitment to sponsor the teams by approving the $185 000 for Mutare City Rovers, Netball Queens and the Tug of War team, in the 2017 budget.
Finance Committee chair, councilor Blessing Tandi had earlier on presented a recommendation to rescind funding the activities of the three teams, citing council’s dry financial coffers, ballooning debt and outstanding employment costs.
Presenting recommendation of the Finance Committee councilor Tandi said they recommended rescinding sponsoring sporting activities due to financial challenges.
“As the Finance committee we have resolved that council rescind sponsoring Mutare City Rovers, Netball Queens and Tug of war teams, alternatively these could be moved to the ambit of social and community services as we cannot currently continues sponsoring these activities,” said Tandi.
“How can we commit $185 000 for a team that was on a free-fall in the PSL and has been demoted to a lower division while there are more pressing issues to focus on as a city fathers,” said councilor Mabika, who was against sponsorship.
Mutare city has failed to pay the bulk of its workers in the past two years as the council recorded a budget overrun of 63 percent, spending nearly $30 million against the projected $19 million while missing its revenue collection target, a situation blamed on over-staffing and debts.