by Gift Mashoko
The recent temporary appointment of commissioners to run and watch over both rural and urban local authorities in Zimbabwe by the Government following the recently held harmonised election is highly commendable.
Their appointment was so that the management of local authorities would continue even in the absence of Councillors and Mayors who are yet to be sworn in.
The appointment of these commissioners is a good move especially in MDC led local authorities which have led to the deterioration and poor service delivery over the past five years. This will see the appointed commissioners playing a big role in trying to fix and mend the poor service delivery that is being done in these local authorities. These local authorities might also be forced to deliver as they will be under the watchful eyes of the commissioners and it will not be business as usual.
Harare is one good example of a local authority that has been and is lagging in terms of service delivery, whilst at the same time their high remunerations does not commensurate with their shoddy showing when it comes to service provision. Harare City Council is failing to provide clean water for people to drink, not just clean water but some areas go for weeks, months even years without tap water.
Failing to collect refuse, failing to pay its employees, failing to fix traffic lights, failing to build vending stalls for vendors is now the order of the day and the whole city centre has been transformed into a market. The city fathers are failing to maintain roads as some roads had become impassable, hence Government had to intervene in the road rehabilitation programme in the city.
Harare City Council also tops the list on corruption and hopefully these commissioners will put a stop to this malaise.
MDC led Gweru City Council is not to be spared as currently there is a typhoid outbreak due to unclean water, residents are exposed to. Gweru City Council is failing to provide water let alone clean water and some residents are now resorting to borehole water which the Ministry of Health and Child Care condemned as unsafe. This means the commissioners have their work cut out for them in order to bring sanity to the city as this situation cannot wait for the new councillors to be sworn in.
Rural District Councils are the ones that seem to be providing better service delivery. For instance in Mashonaland Central’s Pfura Rural District Council managed to install solar street lights, and is working on other street lights in Dotito and there have also been working on road rehabilitation activities. Chaminuka Rural District Council resuscitated a piped water scheme in Goora and this created employment of market gardening. With this in mind one would see that Commissioners appointed in these Rural District councils will have to continue with the good works and improve on them in terms of service delivery and see to it that these Rural District Councils maintain their good works.
One would then wonder why people voted into office the same crop of MDC councillors who were failing to deliver in the past years. Their political folly is going to spell out the same underperformance experienced in local authorities since MDC led council took over.
If only the constitution would allow for the commissioners to stay in power watching over the councillors so they don’t go off track, but work on service delivery.