Salommy Matare Features Writer
Misplaced priorities and mismanagement are the order of the day at Harare City Council.
When one looks at the problems facing Harare residents, the feeling is that council is on auto-pilot in terms of service delivery, with the leadership only coming to life only when there is money to line their pockets or wealth to plunder.
The rate at which service delivery has collapsed in Harare, including provision of basics such as clean drinking water, testifies to the kind of leadership we have at Town House.
This writer doubts if there has ever been a worse leadership than this. Uncollected garbage, dry taps, land grabs and the propensity to loot is amazing.
When you think councillors should be ashamed of their actions that have plunged Harare into an abyss, where the future is now uncertain, you expect them to be embarrassed, but no, you see them walking heads held high, pot bellies protruding and expensive suits ill-fitting.
Despite claiming that the council is broke, to the extent of shutting down Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant on September 23, 2019, Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba and Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango saw it fit to splash thousands of dollars on a useless workshop, each one of them pocketing a cool $20 000.
The city councillors should abstain from playing with people’s lives. Maybe it is high time we resort to city mothers!
Harare City Council runs several community halls in the city and even a mayoral mansion where they can hold their works and workshops at little or no cost, but you find them booking hotels outside Harare so that they get travel and subsistence allowances, huge figures for that matter.
It is equally shocking that an audit carried out recently showed that council does not have a database of all the land sold or parcelled out in the past three years.
Honestly? Seriously? Really?
It is clear that the councillors are doing this to cover their tracks, to conceal their plunder and grabbing of land in all the open spaces.
This is precisely the reason why wherever you go in Harare, all the open spaces — the green spaces from which the city breathes — have been parcelled out. How selfish!
To add salt to injury, city council slashes half a million dollars a month on its football club, Harare City FC, when there are no water treatment chemicals. Council nurses have not been paid for months on end, while footballers are paid on time. What a travesty!
The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) is right to say on their social media handles that ratepayers’ money is being used for trivia while there are more pressing issues like water and sanitation to deal with.
“We, in the short term, demand a breakdown of the expenditures from the weekly allocations of that huge amount from the City of Harare.
“The ratepayers have a right to information guaranteed through Section 62 of the Constitution in the public interest.
“The courts will mediate the conflict if no answers are provided.”
The club’s board members are a joke.
As if he is not milking motorists enough through City Parking, Alois Masepe is the club’s chairman and also the Chief Executive of City Parking, one of the opaquest strategic business units of the City of Harare.
Stanley Ndemera, the city’s acting finance director, poses as vice chairman.
Despite their other commitments these officials are known to be nomadic as they always travel on away games with the team, carelessly spending water chemicals’ (money).
HRT fumed saying that these officials do not know anything about football and should be withdrawn from the committee.
“We believe that these officials have no business in the Harare City Football Club and we recommend to the councillors that they should be withdrawn so that they concentrate on their important duties in the City of Harare.
“Who among them has any knowledge, understanding and experience of football matters?”
HRT further said: “Most of the time, when the City of Harare soccer team has games, they are reportedly out of the office at the ratepayers’ expense, to make money out of a team that is almost at the bottom of the log in the Premier Soccer League!”
HRT believes that since there is no much value being derived from the football club they see no reason for the team remaining under the City of Harare
“It must be sold to other interested investors. The team is benefiting individuals and not the ratepayers,” says one observer.
Suffice to say, this madness has gone too far and it’s high time sanity returns to the council in order for it to become a council people are proud of.