Editor’s Memo

Mt Makwavarara

Dear Ms Makwavarara TO say that I am disappointed with your ability to deliver as mayoress of Harare would be too expectant of your capabilities. I have always doubted your aptitude to lead

the capital whether as mayoress or chairperson of that patently improper commission you head.


However, even if many share my sentiments about your ineffectiveness, you at least have to do something to justify your presence at Town House.


Dr Gideon Gono, to remind you, is still in Father Christmas mode and last week he released a plan to ensure that Harare and other local authorities receive cheap financing from the central bank.


You might be aware that Harare is entitled to $200 billion out of the $1 trillion availed to local authorities countrywide. Gono believes that the money would help councils, including Harare, overcome a number of handicaps they face.


Gono, in his Comprehensive Programme for Municipal Reform, interestingly identifies the role of local authorities in sabotaging national recovery efforts.

“…operational inefficiencies and rigidities inherent in municipalities, mainly as a result of accumulation of debt obligations and inadequate strategic programme design and execution, stand as a significant hurdle to smooth transmission of fiscal, structural and monetary policies to the corporate and household sectors,” his RBZ programme document says.


Gono has hit the nail on the head. What stands as a “significant hurdle” to service delivery in Harare at the moment is the “inadequate strategic programme design and execution” by the team of commissioners which you currently lead. It is not exactly your fault because Harare, unlike Bulawayo, does not have a tradition of adequate service delivery. I do not therefore expect you to do any better. Records at your office, I am sure, are replete with details on the failure of the Chanakira Commission and the administration of the late Solomon Tawengwa. Your performance to date belongs to the same files.


Am I being unfair here? Perchance there are remarkable achievements to your credit since your largely expected defection from the MDC to join Zanu PF where you are now couched in the arms of Central Committee heavyweights. The perks include a farm and chairmanship of the commission.


As far as I am concerned, you, together with town clerk Nomutsa Chideya, were not handed a poisoned chalice by the previous administration. You willingly partook in the brewing of the bitter concoction in the cup. I understand that you had a hand in kicking out elected executive mayor Elias Mudzuri because he did not dance to Minister Ignatious Chombo’s discordant tune. Is it called Don’t Listen To Ratepayers? Whatever it is called, you have mastered the dance routines with stunning agility.


All this however is supremely unimpressive. Your most notable achievement to date, if I may say, is the towing away of double-parked vehicles in city centre streets and the extortionate penalties your administration is demanding before releasing the vehicles back to their owners.


Otherwise all I see is that the rubbish piles in high-density areas have grown into mountains. I propose naming a notorious one at the vegetable market in Mbare Mt Makwavarara in your honour.


What has happened to refuse collection? Your official excuse has been shortage of diesel, which is currently plentiful. Let’s hear the next excuse please.


Close to Mt M, emergent entrepreneurs sell fresh meat along Ardbennie Road. City by-laws forbid this, I believe.
 
You would rather not deal with this potential health hazard but tow away vehicles. That’s conventional wisdom.

After dedicating Mt M and shopping at the street-side butcheries, please visit the footbridge spanning Julius Nyerere Way. Could you please find out why the public no longer use the bridge. Take Joseph Chinotimba with you since he is experienced in visiting allyways which have been turned into public toilets. His experience in Glen Norah would be invaluable. It’s next to your office so the Merc can stay in the car park.


The potholes on our roads are bad enough but your workers must not add to the already existing danger. Could you please advise council workers that when they dig a hole in the middle of the road, they should not leave the scene without either covering the hole or putting in place proper detour signs. I was last weekend nearly ensnared in a crater along Kenneth Kaunda Avenue opposite Farm & City.


I have also noticed that more and more robots at intersections are not working. It gets worse when police who are supposed to control traffic in those situations add to the confusion or simply give up. Two cops in reflective clothing stood by the roadside the other day at the corner of Seke and Cripps roads when the robots were malfunctioning. They were only triggered to life by the passage of the presidential motorcade.


The police are not your responsibility but who is responsible for your dysfunctional equipment?


I am also urging you to visit the council banking hall at Rowan Martin during month ends when people are paying their rates and charges. Is it your policy that cashiers should take long lunch breaks, leaving one or two officials to attend to hundreds of people? Is this not an advertisement for inefficiency?

If it’s not, please tell me what it is? I offer this space for your response at your convenience. Let’s see how long that takes in coming.


Your disgruntled resident,


Vincent Kahiya.


*PS: Repair the burst pipe along Wyatt Road in Avondale West. It’s been like that for over a year. What about gaping holes on pavements in the city centre, laundry in First Street, tall grass in suburbs, there was no water in Chadcombe…

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