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ZANU PF must not use theatre for free – Mutimba

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ZANU PF must not use theatre for free – Mutimba


Brilliant Mukaro


MASVINGO –  Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association (MURRA) spokesperson Godfrey Mutimba has expressed shock at a statement by a local councillor that ZANU PF is using Charles Austin Theatre in Masvingo for free.

Charles Austin is among the country’s best theatres that has over the years been used by residents for different programmes but owned the local city council.

Ward 10 councillor Sengerai Manyanga told supporters gathered at a Zanu PF ED affiliates orientation meeting in Masvingo on Wednesday last week that Zanu PF does not pay any fees to use Charles Austin because the Theatre is run by Zanu PF activists including Charles Munganasa who is a theatre committee member.

Mutimba said he learned of the arrangement with disgust and said Zanu PF was stealing from the public.

Mutimba called for an audit of Charles Austin Theatre books of accounts and spot checks to see who is abusing public facilities.  He said the facilities at the theatre have been deteriorating since the death of alderman Doug Hill and the assumption of the management of the theatre by political party activists.

Efforts to get a comment from the town clerk, Edward Mukaratirwa were futile as he was said to be on leave.

Mutimba said this after councillor Manyanga bragged that ZANU PF is the one which is running the Charles Austin theatre and the party uses it for free whenever it wants to do its meetings as it has Charles Munganasa and Against Chiteme who are part of the committee running the theatre.

Efforts to get a comment from Masvingo Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa were fruitless as he is on leave. Chamber secretary Vitalis Shonhai said he was not in office and could not comment.

Munganasa however dismissed Manyanga’s statement and said that the theatre is administered by Masvingo City Council’s department of housing and not the theatre committee.

He said that even the bookings are done and receipted by the council and the committee is ceremonial as it was stripped of its powers two years ago.

He described Manyanga’s sentiments as mere political rhetoric.

“The theatre is run by the City Council’s housing department, and that a certain politician claimed that ZANU PF uses the venue for free must be taken as mere political rhetoric that must not be taken seriously,” said Munganasa.

He said council must treat all organisations equally and should not politicise a community facility, he added that such actions are tantamount to theft as the ratepayers are the ones maintain and cover rates for the theatre.

“As residents of Masvingo we are against the politicization of a community theatre. This is a community facility and it should not be turned into a free venue of a political party,” said Mutimba. 

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