SERVICE delivery at most of the country’s public institutions is being stalled by “old, recycled leaders”, some of whom have been in government since Independence in 1980, MDC Renewal Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume has said.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Mafume made the remarks during a Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) public discussion on water meters at a Harare hotel on Thursday where he was one of the panelists.
“Several things are not working in this country because we have old people leading us — old judges, old police bosses, an old Registrar-General, and an old President – and there is nothing dangerous like being led by old persons,” Mafume said.
“There is poor delivery of water because town clerk Tendai Mahachi is old, and age is a sickness which cannot be healed. It is worse than HIV. These old leaders spent 90 years drinking clean water and now they want to privatise water on youngsters. We have a problem.”
In apparent reference to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s collapse last August during a passout parade officiated by President Robert Mugabe, Mafume said: “They think for two days and some of their body parts do not even work, which means even their brains are not working, resulting in some policemen fainting while guarding the President.”
Mafume also said councillors affiliated to his party would step down if installation of prepaid water meters was implemented.
“Our councillors are ready to be recalled for resisting prepaid water meters,” Mafume said.
Speaking at the same event, opposition National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson Maddock Chivasa rapped MDC councillors in Harare and Bulawayo for failing to object to plans by their local authorities to introduce pre-paid water meters in residential areas.
“There are people who are proposing the introduction of prepaid water meters, and the people doing this are political parties (MDCs) with councillors in the Harare and Bulawayo city councils,” Chivasa said.
“We need to question the MDCs because Harare City Council and Bulawayo City Council are dominated by their councillors, yet they are the same people coming to the discussion platform trying to condemn it. We should know who really to confront because as far as we are concerned the councillors and Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni should be answerable.”
Some members of the public claimed that privatisation of water was mooted during the era of the inclusive government.
But MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said the programme was the brainchild of Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.
“This is part of ZimAsset and policies by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing – and that is why Chombo, who was supposed to be a panellist, failed to turn up or send a representative. When someone is guilty, they do not come to where they are held accountable,” Mwonzora said.
“The MDC-T won urban council seats, but it did not win the Local Government ministry which is run by Chombo. Whenever MDC-T councillors began to become efficient, they were replaced and fired by Chombo, town clerks and directors were not employed by the MDC-T, but by the Local Government ministry and Zanu PF,” he said.