Local Government minister July Moyo’s meddling in the affairs of Harare City Council is one of the reasons why service delivery continues to deteriorate in the capital.
Moyo, who is driven by politics, enjoys the backing of an unlikely ally in the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora, which is on a crusade to dismantle the elected leadership of the MDC-Alliance where it exists throughout the country.
Mwonzora’s party has recalled the majority of councillors that were elected during the previous elections, leaving Harare with a weak and inept leadership.
The remaining few councillors seem not to have the spine to stand up to the MDC-T leader’s shenanigans as they fear being recalled.
This has given Moyo and central government a free pass to do as they please in Harare to the detriment of the city’s long suffering residents.
The minister struck again last week as he suspended elected mayor Jacob Mafume on spurious grounds.
Mafume had only returned to work a few weeks ago after he was suspended in January following his arrest late last year for allegedly trying to bribe a state witness in a case where he is facing corruption charges.
The Local Government ministry failed to charge Mafume within the stipulated time and this paved the way for him to return to Town House.
Acting mayor Stewart Mutizwa, a member of Mwonzora’s party, refused to make way for the substantive mayor on his return and this fuelled confusion in the council’s operations as the local authority now had two centres of power.
Moyo’s response was to suspend Mafume and aid the MDC-T’s nefarious agenda in Harare.
Moyo justified the latest suspension by claiming that the mayor will interfere with witnesses in his case, but that is not his job as this is a matter that is still before the courts.
The minister simply strayed from his mandate.
He simply continued with a Zanu PF tradition to do all it can to cripple local authorities that are under the control of the opposition.
The government’s interference in operations of local authorities such as Harare has not been in the interests of ratepayers as it affects service delivery and breeds corruption.
Harare is struggling to provide basic services such as running water and refuse collection, a situation that promotes the frequent outbreaks of mediaeval diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
If the MDC Alliance and civil society groups have the interests of Harare residents at heart, they must challenge central government’s destructive agenda in the capital.
The MDC-T and central government must be given a clear message that they cannot continue to toy around with residents’ lives without any consequences. Someone has to put a stop to the madness.