Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
SERVICE delivery has deteriorated to unprecedented levels in Harare with residents going for days without water, while garbage goes for months uncollected.
At the centre of the rot is the MDC Alliance that has been looting at the expense of service delivery since it took control of the council at the turn of the millennium.
Current MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has been sucked into the latest residential stands allocation scandal in the capital city, amid revelations that the opposition party has been stripping the council of land in order to finance its operations.
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) spokesperson Mr John Makamure said more arrests are coming.
“We will continue with arrests, some people appeared in court and more culprits will be brought to book, this applies to other local authorities such as Chitungwiza,” said Mr Makamure.
Several MDC-A councillors are facing a slew of allegations ranging from abuse of office and brazen corruption.
As a result of the poor management at Town House, rivulets of sewage flow freely in Harare’s suburbs where roads are potholed.
Harare Residents Trust director, Mr Precious Shumba, said service delivery under the watch of the MDC continues to plummet even as residents pay up for delivery.
“Water supplies in the last two weeks have gone down to nearly 20 percent, meaning 80 percent of ratepayers have not had municipal water.
“Elected representatives are not even communicating with residents on what is happening. Refuse collection is non-existent in most suburbs”.
“The City of Harare does not have a reliable billing system. For several months now, residents are not receiving their monthly bills, and when the bills are delivered, they are estimated. Corruption is deep-seated in the council,” he said.
Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trusts chairperson, Mr Shepherd Shalvar Chikomba, said cases of corruption, water shortages, dilapidated and dysfunctional sewer infrastructure, wetland invasions and unscrupulous stands allocations have continued to rise unabated in the capital.
“It is becoming normal to live an abnormal life. Consequently, residents are being trained to celebrate mediocrity or to live without basic amenities and provisions which distinguish them from animals,” he said.
Zimbabwe Combined Residents Association president, Mr McSteven Nyabvure, said service delivery has deteriorated to unimaginable alarming levels.
“Those in charge have proved that they are inefficient and now a commission is needed as a matter of urgency to resolve the crisis bedevilling Harare City Council. The people whom we entrusted to run the city are busy pursuing their own agenda at the expense of service delivery,” he said.
A visit to most of Harare’s high density suburbs reveals an appalling state of service delivery as residents are exposed to diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
With a fleet of depleted refuse trucks, Harare City Council claims that it has 15 brand new refuse trucks stuck in South Africa for nearly four years now and are yet to be delivered under “unclear” circumstances.
Sprouting unplanned settlements with no services such as roads, water and sewer lines have sprouted in areas like Eyrecourt and Whitecliff.
Recreational and open spaces that used to serve as breathing spaces for residents have been invaded by corrupt MDC-A officials.
Recently, The Herald exposed how the current crop of city fathers “corruptly” allocated themselves and their “bosses” in the MDC-A vast tracts of State land which they were buying for a song.
Authorities have started taking action, arresting councillors who were fingered in corruption including Herbert Gomba, who has a dossier of abuse of office charges hanging over his head.
The other councillors who were arrested along with Gomba are Hammy Madzingira (Ward 10), Cllr Costa Mande (Ward 14), and Cllr Anthony Shingadeya (Ward 11) and Cllr Lovemore Makuwerere of Ward 24.
However, acting Harare mayor councillor Enock Mupamawonde blamed the economy for their failures.
“Over the past decades, the economy has been on a nosedive that is why we are in such a situation in terms of service delivery. It is difficult to collect rates religiously which then translate to non-performance of revenue also impacting on capital projects.”
Information at hand shows that of the 45 MDC Alliance councillors, only two are not involved in stripping the council of land as the party primitively accumulates wealth in what has left the capital with no open space or land banks.
Harare is now a shadow of its once glorious status under successive Zanu PF councils.