by Tendai Guta
While Rural District Councils (RDCs) countrywide under the watch of ZANU PF are performing above board regarding service delivery, MDC led councils seem to be lacking in this regard.
Although some cyber trolls point fingers at the government for the mess in most urban municipalities, I am of the view that councils alone should shoulder the blame as they are solely responsible for their budgets and running of day to day council affairs.
Mismanagement of council resources including rate payer`s money, misplaced priorities, corruption and greediness are major factors affecting these urban councils.
MDC councils are prioritising awarding themselves hefty salaries at the expense of service delivery with Harare City Council`s salary wage bill chewing more than 90 percent of council`s revenue collection yet rate payers are not receiving services they deserve.
A Harare city council pay scale which went viral on social media a week ago shows that a council municipal guard or patrolman costs the city $1057 per month, while a ZRP officer in Government earns a monthly salary of just $400, which is 2,5 times higher. This scenario is the same in all related ranks leaving questions on how sustainable is this status quo in terms of service delivery?
Most urban councils prioritise purchasing very expensive and luxurious vehicles for city fathers yet they complain of having no funds to purchase refuse collection trucks and ambulances for health services.
MDC councils are failing to provide basic services like refuse collection, roads rehabilitation, provision of clean and safe water and repairing burst sewage and water pipes, exposing residents to deadly diseases such as cholera and dysentery. These councils have turned towns countrywide into garbage and trench cities. Residents in most suburbs particularly Mabvuku, Tafara and some parts of Chitungwiza always complain of receiving water bills yet they have gone for some years without taped water, revealing confusion and corruption within these urban councils.
Uncollected garbage, flowing sewage have become an eyesore in the CBD and in residential areas too. Burst water pipes take ages to be repaired yet some areas have gone for years without clean water.
Most roads in residential in these urban areas are not safe to both motorists and pedestrians, they are full of potholes which road users have always complained about but to no avail.
On this note, most ZANU PF led Rural District Councils are satisfactorily rehabilitating roads under their jurisdiction especially gravel roads, complementing government efforts of providing trafficable roads in the country. Rural District Councils (RDCs) have currently graded 14 353 kilometres of gravel roads of their planned target of 23390 kilometres while District Development Fund (DDF) has also surpassed its planned target by grading 21231 kilometres against its planned target of 21175 kilometres.
It is evident MDC-T led council have rundown our once beautiful cities. It is prudent therefore to show them the door during this year’s harmonised election on the 30th of July 2018.