Going around in Zimbabwe’s cities one would say there are not habitable for human beings anymore, no city or town has been spared there is a lot that has gone wrong and the question is who is to blame for all of this. In this article I want to present my views on why I think our urban councils are in shambles throughout the country.
By Cde Setfree N Mafukidze
The Zanu-PF government has of late blamed poor service delivery on the opposition MDC-T led councils with emphasis being put on corruption being the lead cause of failure to deliver services to residents in all the cities and towns. The Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T runs most of the urban councils in Zimbabwe and have been labelled under performers by Zanu-PF through its successive Ministers of Local Government. City administrators or city fathers have been at the forefront of looting from council coffers through ridiculously pegged high salaries and packages that do not resonate with what is happening in terms of service delivery. Having said that can we assume that is what has stalled progress in all the cities and towns in Zimbabwe?
The MDC T has always wanted to run on a clean sheet hence they have never entertained any of their officials fingered in genuine corruption cases to remain in charge of the councils, they have either suspended or withdrawn any of their own involved in graft, which is very key to restore confidence even among the people who voted them into office. The case has not been the same with Zanu-PF which has always retained very corrupt Ministers of local government particularly one Ignatius Chombo who is believed to be an owner of land in almost every existing council in Zimbabwe, the tender processes have been manipulated to feedback to pockets if such Ministers and no action has ever been taken by President Mugabe who is the boss to these Ministers. We may all want to look back at the Chombo divorce case and see a long list of properties and land held by the former local government boss.
The main question here is who is to blame for poor service delivery by urban councils and to get an answer to this I will take you back to the year 2013 election period. During their campaign of which I was then a part of Zanu-PF made a populist move, remember the huge service bills each household had back then. These bills ran into billions country wide but Zanu-PF decided the people would not foot these bills, they wrote off all debts for every household back to 0.00 .This meant councils had to start a fresh page, but let’s not ignore the fact that they also owed they various suppliers who did not right off what they were owed by councils so the struggle was and i guess still remains on the council’s side. Such a move would have made some sense if Government had money to offset the said domestic debts but they offered nothing except a mere directive ordering councils to scrap all domestic service bills.
This is where we stand today as a result of the Zanu-PF populist moves, there is no water in residential areas leading to the manifestation of diseases as is the case in Glen View and Budiriro who have been hit by Typhoid which government is silent on. The road network is now in a deplorable state except those roads used by the country’s President which are always well maintained. Refuse collection has been affected too due to lack of adequate refuse collection vehicles. The fire departments are in a bad state as they don’t have fire engines that are properly running.
Council workers in some councils have gone for 24 months without getting salaries as is the case with Chitungwiza Town Council which ended up giving workers residential land to cover for what they were owed and the same happened in Marondera where workers were not working well too due to salary arrears.
To conclude the whole scenario we see in urban councils reflects back to a poorly led Nation, Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF lot remain entirely responsible for poor service delivery. We are talking of Government officials who never set foot in the most affected areas being them high density suburbs, they don’t get to see first-hand how bad they have turned the country into.
It is my hope soon we will have responsible people taking charge of our once beautiful country.
Setfree N Mafukidze writes in his personal capacity and can be reached on Whatsapp: +263718123148
Twitter : @settyigwe001