‘MDC-A run councils giving urbanites a raw deal’

by | Jun 26, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

Zimbabwe’s ruling party ZANU PF says the current clean up fiasco lies squarely on the shoulders of the MDC Alliance run councils.

Speaking at a recent press briefing on June 24, 2021, the Party’s Acting National Political Commissar, Cde Patrick Chinamasa blamed the MDC run Council for being both complacent and complicit in the eruption of illegal structures around cities, especially along roads servitudes.

“I want to make it clear that all the problems currently manifesting in the urban centres are of the MDC Alliance run councils’ making.
The councils have been very corrupt to the extent of parceling out land to unsuspecting people on undesignated places. The councils even went on to collect payments and rentals for irregular properties,” said Cde Chinamasa.

In Harare for example, traders even abandoned Mupedzanhamo, a sheltered facility which is well designed for trading, opting to trade in the open spaces which are meant for other purposes.
City council and some corrupt MDC Alliance officials would collect rentals from traders on a daily basis.
Mupedzanhamo was closed last year after serious clashes between well known space barons who would compete to occupy and sublet trading spaces within the facility.

Harare City council has an approved Urban Renewal plan which aims towards their set goal of becoming a world Class City by 2025.
However, at this rate, a World Class City status will remain a mirage.

In a thriving modern city, bylaws are established, obeyed and enforced for the sake of sanity and orderliness.
A world-class city should be attractive to both visitors tourists and investors.

It is sad that Harare keeps making the same mistake when the City fathers not only forget to enforce laid down bylaws but become a party to the illegalities.

It is embarrassing that the same councils that blame central government for meddling, is the same that collects rentals from illegal structures and traders.

In January this year City of Harare successfully acquired 23 Court orders that authorised the local authority to demolish houses built allegedly on illegal pieces of land.

Demolitions were carried out on houses belonging to one of the 23 Cooperatives earmarked for demolition.
Ironically, all these cooperatives were and are possibly still on City of Harare database. The city received payment for land and for development of houses.

City engineers and inspector would inspect and receive payments for stage approvals until the houses were fully built, only for the city council to turn around and declare then illegal. What hypocrisy and heartlessness!
Cde Chinamasa decried the a lack of institutional memory by city residents who seemingly forget yesteryear’s painful experiences in pursuit of perceived present comfort.

In 2005, a similar exercise was carried out by government to sanitize the city.
Mbare was worst affected by 2005’s Murambatsvina exercise, but still people refuse to draw lessons from that traumatising experience.

“It is astounding when one imagines that Zimbabweans have one the highest literacy rates in Africa and are deemed very intelligent, yet they lack common sense.
I can’t imagine why Zimbabweans shun doing things through formal channels and opt for short cuts which are often infested with dangerous risk,” he said.
Residents know the right things to do, but still they choose the riskier short cuts, whose transactions are often an unnecessary gamble. The situation in Harare has always been a simmering volcano waiting to erupt.

In effect the disorderly state of affairs in Harare’s high density suburbs had become a security risk.

Corrupt officials, in the City of Harare and Chitungwiza have over the years been parcelling out land to unsuspecting home seekers in such undesignated and dangerous places as wetlands, service openings, open spaces and even right under electricity pylons.

In mid-January 2021, Minister of Local Government and National Housing Honourable July Moyo, together with his National Housing and Local Amenities counterpart Honourable Daniel Garwe toured flooded areas in Chitungwiza and Gweru after which Minister July Moyo promised government intervention to clean up the housing mess.

Therefore, the current clean-up campaign in Harare should be viewed as a self-correction measure by city authorities who are naturally compelled to do so by their set vision of becoming a World Class city by 2025.

Cde Chinamasa confirmed that indeed central government was moving in to take over critical functions of councils in major urban centres such as Water provision, refuse collection and disposal, road infrastructure maintenance, sewer reticulation and re-location of flooding victims.

The government is moving in to take over these functions to safeguard the interests of ratepayers who have suffered for a long time due to neglect and corruption.