Zimbabweans have been shocked by blatant lies said by the MDC A leader when he went on defensive denying his ugly hand in the demolition of properties in Budiriro. The under fire leader tried to blame the government for the demolitions when he was fully aware that his party was in full control on councils. Despite feigning innocence in the recent demolition of houses in Budiriro, Harare, and spirited efforts to blame the Government, MDC- Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa is on record asserting autonomy in running 28 out of 32 urban local authorities.
Last week, Mr Chamisa, flanked by his Mayor and few remaining top MDCA officials visited families whose houses were demolished by the MDC-A controlled council. In a show of dishonesty and chicanery the opposition leader blamed the government for such inhuman behaviour.
However, fe months earlier he was bragging to a South African television station that his party was seeking to leave a mark in urban centres where it controls, a statement that might have found expression in the recent razing down of houses in the middle of the rainy season.
“We are in charge of 28 municipalities in towns and cities out of the 32. So basically Zanu PF is a party in the rural areas; in the urban areas they are basically there on our own terms because we are the leading party there” Mr Chamisa said.
His mark was very clear for all Zimbabweans to see as he turned house owners into street people.
Mr Chamisa admitted that the MDC-A, which was formerly called the MDC before a series of splits over the years, has been in charge of a host of local authorities for more than a decade.
Despite the opposition party’s control of local authorities, critics say the opposition has done little to bring cheer to urbanites who grapple with poor service delivery on a daily basis. The urban road network is appalling the roads are full of port holes which are big enough to hide a lorry. All along MDC has been blaming the government for such inefficiency.
Under MDC-A’s watch, Harare has morphed from being the Sunshine City to the stench capital, where rivulets of sewage flow freely, while heaps of garbage are a common site, not only in residential suburbs but also in the central business district (CBD).
Even though the MDC-A would like to shift blame, residents’ representative groups have placed the blame for the demolitions and the rot on the doorstep of the opposition.
The director of Harare Residents Trust, a group that advocates the rights of Harare residents, Mr Precious Shumba said the demolitions could only have been effected by a council resolution.
“The reality is that the demolitions taking place involve the Department of Works in the City of Harare, which has a director who is in charge of the creation of land in Harare. The demolitions cannot take place without the orders of the Department of Works, the environment management committee of the City of Harare made of councillors who receive recommendations and approves. It is the City of Harare that takes these illegal settlers to court and which was granted an order by the courts to remove the settlers,” said Mr Shumba.
Commenting on the same issue of demolitions, Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Oliver Chidawu said Government does not interfere in Harare City Council’s affairs.
“With specific reference to Budiriro demolitions, the local authority approached the courts and was given a court order which they then implemented. That has nothing to do with Government,” he said.
Former Harare Mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni said while council management solely runs the day to day operations of the local authority, councillors were still responsible for choosing whom to employ.
He said the country’s Constitution clearly empowers local authorities to make their own necessary decisions without interference of Government.
“During my tenure, we appointed former NMB Bank chief executive Mr James Mushore as the city’s new town clerk without seeking Government approval and we only notified the Local Government Board. Legally, we had no obligation to seek Government approval,” he said.
Mr Manyenyeni said during his tenure some of the “sensitive” issues needed consultation with top MDC-A officials
Instead of delivering on services such as water and roads repairs, city fathers in the MDC-A controlled council have been lining up their pockets, allocating themselves and their cronies residential stands.
In a report, the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) recently said the pervasive corruption in MDC-A ran councils are being felt most by the ratepayers with the consequences of their ineptitude being felt in areas like Budiriro where illegal structures that were built under their watch were demolished.
“Corruption has a direct and adverse effect on the society within which it is practised. There is no better illustration of this fact than the dire circumstances that residents of Harare and other urban centres find themselves in. Service delivery in Harare has deteriorated to such an extent that garbage collection is almost non-existent in most suburbs with many urban centres going for decades without running water.
“It is for that reason that urban city councils have been targeted in the anti-corruption fight. The results of this deliberate thrust are evident. The anti-corruption fight in urban councils has led to the arrest of the Harare Mayor, Councillor Herbert Gomba, the Town Clerk Hosea Chisango, the Chitungwiza City Mayor, Councillor Lovemore Maiko and many councillors as well as council officials. Currently, investigations are being carried out on the alleged irregular handling of a US$1 000 000 000 (one billion dollar) tender by the Harare City Council with the role of the Harare Town Clerk being placed under serious scrutiny.”
According to the report, the MDC-A run Harare City Council allegedly awarded four Chinese companies tenders to construct a sewage treatment plant and carry out the expansion of another.
In addition, they were also tasked with the rehabilitation of water distribution plants in various Harare suburbs. However, the tenders were not advertised resulting in a non-competitive tender process.
It has become clear that MDC A is trying to starve people to rebellion by destroying their houses and starving them of clean water which is a basic human rights.