City of Harare officials to splash USD$24,000 on Troutbeck trip


HARARE – City of Harare is set to splurge a whooping ZWL$132 million (USD$16,500 using the black market rate of ZWL$8,000) on a trip to Troutbeck Resort, Nyanga, as the local authority officials will be attending the Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking (ZIST) Annual Conference scheduled for 27-29 November 2023. 

City of Harare expensive Troutbeck Nyanga to trip
Image: City of Harare 

The profligate trip comes amid a time when City of Harare is providing abysmal service delivery due to constrained funds, worsened by a cholera outbreak rearing its ugly head, making Harare the worst affected in the country.

According to a Town Clerk’s report signed by the Acting Human Capital director and Acting Finance director, the ZIST workshop will cost a total of ZWL$132,411,577 (USD$16,500) as well as USD$12,000 in other personal allowances.

The trip will be attended by the mayor, deputy mayor, councillors, town clerk, as well as other officials and aides.

“The following has been recommended to attend the workshop, Mayor Councillor L Chitegu, Deputy Mayor R Muronda, Councilors Cllr C Mande, Cllr E Ruzani, Cllr RM Jakopo, Cllr T Machirori, Cllr F Chabuda and Cllr L Makuwerere, Town Clerk Eng H. A Chisango, Rtd Major M Marara, G Kusangaya, S Chimbetete, B Hlabanu, Drivers L Nyanga, P Mudzambara and Town Clerks Aide and all chairpersons,” read part of the statement.

The statement added that the subjects of interest to be discussed at the ZIST workshop include “leveraging on indigenous capital base to drive social and economic transformation and possible pathways for a pragmatic approach by 2030” and “the role of monetary policy and dynamics towards refined optional currency in Zimbabwe and Refining Zimbabwe’s economic recovery plan”.

The theme of the workshop revolves around refining corporate excellence and efficiency towards delivering a middle-income economy in line with Vision 2030.

The Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking, founded by Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo in 2020, is a local think-tank inclined towards strategic thinking and solutions in influencing policymaking decisions.

According to a description on its website, ZIST “whose vision is to be the leading strategic thinking organization in the country and beyond, is a research institution that mobilizes expertise and ideas to influence the policymaking process”.

“The organization performs research and advocacy concerning issues such as political strategy, social policy, economics and so on. ZIST was formed in July 2020 and it’s registered as a trust. It collaborates and works with various organizations to strategically come up with home grown solutions to the problems bedeviling the country.”

This is not the first time that City of Harare has been under scrutiny for luxurious trips at the expense of taxpayers’ money.

In December 2019, then Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba and four senior council officials blew US$32 500 on a reciprocal five-day visit to the Chinese city of Nanjing, according to state media. 

In November 2022, the local authority’s penchant for spending large came to light after it purchased luxury vehicles to the tune of US$700,000 at a time there was an acute shortage of refuse collection trucks.

Meanwhile, cholera continues to wreak havoc, with Harare being the most affected in Zimbabwe.

According to figures released by the health ministry, Harare registered 93 new suspected cholera cases on Saturday against a national tally of 129, becoming the most affected province in Zimbabwe ahead of Manicaland.

Since the outbreak of cholera in February, Harare has recorded 2,997 suspected cholera cases, 227 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

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