By-elections won’t solve Harare’s long-standing litter problem

While Mwonzora’s excited and vengeful politics may have worsened the situation it’s not the main reason why the city council has been a dismal failure.

By Wisdom Mumera

THE massive recalling of MDC Alliance Councilors by Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC-T has created the illusion that it’s the reason why service delivery has plummeted.

Its a safe and convenient cover which the Nelson Chamisa party has taken effective use of.

Thus their rallying call has been centered on agitating for by-elections.

However the truth is that its an illusion borne of opposition propaganda.

By-elections are not going to be the redeeming act for service delivery.

Same Old Guys

This is for the simple fact that the councils have previously been fully constituted and nothing was moving. Once Harare had all the 46 Councilors and the full complement of management and nothing was moving.

Refuse wasn’t being collected. Sewage bursts were all over and roads were still as potholed as ever.

Water was still scarce and even bank statements were still calculated wrong.

Currently of the city’s 46 councillors, Mwonzora has recalled 23 councillors in his ironic pursuit of rational disputation. Harare has simply suffered even more.

According to the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), Harare city councilors have struggled to convene full council meetings.

Early this year the Full Council was postponed three times as Council failed to constitute a quorum.

While Mwonzora’s excited and vengeful politics may have worsened the situation it’s not the main matter.

The Real Issues

In a recent interview MDC Alliance Local Government Secretary Sesel Zvidzai spoke about the service delivery issues.

He trotted the usual propaganda about recalls but had some solid points which will remain even after by-elections.

“The key player in the dysfunctionality of local authorities is Zanu PF and its insatiable appetite for central control, corruption, and usurpation of mandates given by the people.”

He said the strangulation of revenue streams, imposition of provincial development coordinators have affected service delivery.

Its a fact that central government has continued playing politics with local authorities.

PDC Muguti is a new political layer to the onion that already has Local Government Minister July Moyo and Harare Minister Oliver Chidawu.

His presence and relevance doesn’t speak to the efficient delivery of services. They are all suffocating the non-executive Mayor.

Another example is how Local Government Minister July Moyo has fueled chaos by failing to resolve the stand-off between acting mayor Stewart Mutizwa and once suspended mayor Jacob Mafume.

While the specific issue can be dealt with through by-elections the abiding factor of a government that isn’t sincere remains.


The rampant corruption at Council itself has also damaged service delivery.

That cannot be dealt with through by-elections.

At one point Harare council had only Director for Health Prosper Chonzi as the substantive while the rest where either suspended, arrested or in court over corruption issues.

The MDC Alliance failed to deal with corrupt elements within it.

Chamisa’s much-publicised anti-corruption unit, led by Thabani Mpofu was all puff. It achieved nothing just like Mnangagwa’s SACU.

The pileup from all these issues has been continued shoddy services. Simple ineffectiveness in their offices and duties is also an issue.

There is general apathy on duty and tasks within council. This is clear when residents voice issues that have been ignored for years.

Council reports have shown shocking cases of uncut grass due to lack of fuel or paid for equipment that is not delivered. All these are clear cases by-elections have no answer for.

In Norton the abiding voice among residents is that come 2023 they need people of capacity not party names.

This should frighten the opposition because for long it has rode on its name and the general aversion for ZANU PF.

This time the sight of sewage and dry tapes may lead people to make new choices.

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