Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Harare Ward 4 (Mbare) councillor Martin Matinyanya, the only Zanu-PF representative in the Harare City Council, has urged his MDC-Alliance counterparts to put politics aside and work for the development of the city.
Cllr Matinyanya nominated himself for the post of Harare mayor, but failed to get a seconder.
“I know I am the only one facing 45 MDC-Alliance councillors, but at council we should not work along party lines,” he said.
“We should make decisions which are good for the city and its inhabitants.
“I know I will probably not get enough or any votes on all matters, but I will not fail to deliver in my ward.
“In Parliament, we have the majority just like the MDC-Alliance has in council.
“Council, however, needs objective leaders who do not think along party lines, but put the interests of residents and the city first.”
Cllr Matinyanya said the fact that Zanu-PF had the majority in Parliament gave him the energy to deliver.
He said only a focused and committed leadership would change the fortunes of Harare.
Harare has been struggling for years to provide basic services like clean water, refuse collection and trafficable roads.
“My message to my counterparts is that let us work together for the betterment of our city,” said Cllr Matinyanya.
“We must meet our targets as well as satisfy residents’ expectations. Let us leave politics behind and make sure we come up with projects and programmes that can bring investors to our city.
“The residents who voted us into office want to see us providing the services they require regardless of our political affiliation.”
Cllr Matinyanya said he was a darling of his ward as he spearheaded several projects, including pipe replacement, drilling of 21 boreholes and the rehabilitation of water and sewer systems at Mbare Flats.
Harare has been struggling to recover its glitter since the MDC started dominating the council from 2000.
The MDC councillors were often accused of corruption, which included awarding tenders to their friends who ended up doing shoddy jobs because of lack of expertise, abusing loans and diverting funds meant for service delivery.
The council has been criticised for failing to rid the city of illegal vendors and pirate taxi operators, who have rendered the streets impassable.
Previous MDC-dominated councils also failed to come up with a smooth transport system that could have ensured commuter omnibus operators do their business in an orderly manner.
A $144 million loan obtained from China Eximbank a few years ago to rehabilitate Morton Jaffray Waterworks, the city’s major supplier of potable water, has not brought desired results, amid accusations of abuse of the funds.
The city is still struggling to get constant supplies of water to many suburbs despite some work being carried out on Morton Jaffray using part of the Chinese loan.
The MDC councillors ran down the city operations to the extent that basic services like collection of garbage and cleaning of streets are being neglected, to the detriment of residents who continue to religiously pay their bills.
City planning tenets have also been abandoned, resulting in haphazard settlements sprouting on council land, with the councillors either turning a blind eye or being accused of settling the people on such areas reserved for schools, churches and recreational facilities.
It is the residents’ hope that the new councillors would this time around depart from the business-as-usual approach exhibited by their predecessors and concentrate on delivering quality service to the ratepayers.