Unleash garbage collectors first before unleashing debt collectors

by | Apr 24, 2021 | Local News, Politics | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

City of Harare has threatened to unleash debt collectors on defaulting Harare residents as they try to recover ZWL$5 billion they say they is owed by households and businesses.
Before we explore the idea, there are a few pertinent questions that seek answers.

The city of Harare is not just an ordinary city in the country.

It is the centre of governance and the flagship of development, resilience and self-rule.

The city is not only significant to the people of Zimbabwe but it is equally so to the Southern African Development Community of nations.

Harare, by its centrality, is the heartbeat of Southern Africa where nations converge for trade and politics.
By this token, it can be concluded that Harare is not just an ordinary City in Africa or Zimbabwe. It is Africa and Zimbabwe.

The state of Zimbabwe as a nation, economically, politically and socially, is reflected and personified by the state of affairs in Harare.

Today, can we say that Harare has acquitted itself and represented Zimbabwe and Southern Africa well?
The answer is a resounding NO!
Harare, the Sunshine City, as it was known then, has lost the glory and sunshine of the past.
The city has become notorious as the most mismanaged City in Zimbabwe and probably Southern Africa.

Harare City has been run by successive opposition MDC Councils since the turn of the millennium.
At one time, the central government had to intervene by way of appointing a commission to run the affairs of the city on an interim basis.

But as democracy called, the city has always quickly slid back into the chaos characterised by gross incompetence, corruption, political manipulation, rent-seeking behaviours and sheer dereliction of duty.

City fathers have dropped accountability as a benchmark of genuine leadership.
They have become godfathers, only accountable only to themselves and the MDC Alliance party.
Wishes and aspirations residents have been relegated to the dustbin.

Suburbs go for months without running water in the tap, forcing residents to adjust to unhygienic sources of water such as unprotected wells.
Sewer reticulation is now a luxury as residents go back to ancient put latrines and septic tanks.
Yet these services reflect prominently on monthly service bills.

City roads have become a death trap as yawning potholes threaten motorists with death every day.
Motorists spend a lot of money on vehicle maintenance and repairs. Yet the bills keep coming.
The city receives regular pay-outs from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) for road maintenance and resurfacing, but the money is systematically diverted for other uses such as settling debts and luxurious workshops.
Yet bills keep coming.

The once Sunshine City has been reduced to the modern-day garbage city.
The city streets have become an eyesore as uncollected garbage continue to pile up at random points around the city. Nobody cares, it seems.
It rings true that in Harare, to be elected as councillor one has to display a higher degree of incompetence, corruption and negligence to duty, while at the same time displaying the highest level of political party hero worship.

The MDC Alliance led Council has so far become a cash cow for financing opposition MDC Alliance political activities at the expense of service delivery.
The only consultation that is admissible is with party officials at luxurious hotels, while consultation with residents and ratepayers has become taboo.
Residents of Harare have all but given up on fighting or shouting for improved service delivery from the City fathers as these have since forever fallen on deaf ears.
But why should residents continue to pay for services that will never be delivered?
Why should residents continue to be held to ransom by a belligerent city council? An authority that is so uncooperative and uncaring when it comes to the welfare of residents and ratepayers.
The questions that linger on the minds of residents is; Why not unleash garbage collectors first before unleashing debt collectors?

The truth is that it is the City of Harare that owes residents undelivered services.
For decades, residents have lived on empty promises of improved services, yet they have continued to pay for a pie in the sky.

The government has promised to intervene to restore service delivery in Harare.
In the same vein, residents have a right to demand government intervention to stop the garnishing of residents’ accounts and attaching of property for services not rendered.