Govt losing it on Harare

A buldozer loading gabbage

WHAT is happening in Harare is so sad and unfortunate that it should not be allowed to escape our scrutiny.

Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs and Devolution secretary Tafadzwa Muguti has told us that government, through the Harare Metropolitan province, has partnered the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) to collect waste on behalf of the Harare City Council (HCC).

Government, which says Ema must garnish HCC accounts to recover costs for the unsolicited garbage collection service, has accused council of “incompetence” in managing waste in the capital and “dragging (their) feet when it comes to the issue of environmental management”.

Government’s meddling in HCC affairs are well-documented and the last most topical incident was the Pomona waste management debacle, which resulted in government and council locking horns over a deal that was so obviously flawed that it could be seen in pitch darkness.

Meanwhile, HCC has accused government of not giving the council its devolution funds to help it deal with the garbage crisis facing the capital and has warned that government cannot ride roughshod over the national procurement regulations and the Auditor-General Act by single-handedly appointing Ema to collect waste in the city without going to tender and without the issue being discussed and a resolution passed in council chambers.

For a visitor to Zimbabwe coming from any foreign land or even Mars, it would not be very wrong or far-fetched for them to point out that a lot is amiss in what HCC and government are doing to bring some semblance of sanity in the capital city.

The visitor would be forgiven for pointing out that it is ridiculous for government to accuse HCC of incompetence when it has not released a single cent of the city’s devolution funds allocation.

The visitor would be left wondering why government is so interested in setting up a parallel governing structure to the HCC’s own, established under the country’s Urban Councils Act.

The visitor would be forgiven for wondering why government is not even interested in capacitating HCC to be able to provide adequate services such as refuse collection, but is so engrossed in dressing down HCC to the point of raising eyebrows of even those hardly literate in civic affairs.

One would also wonder why government, through the Metropolitan Province administrators, is prepared to ride roughshod over not only the country’s Urban Councils Act, but the supreme law of the land, the Constitution.

At the end of the day, the visitor will be forgiven for concluding that the untenable sour relations between government and HCC are invariably having a serious toll on the hapless residents of the capital city.

The unfortunate residents are now victims of an undeclared war with a murky agenda that clearly threatens the very instigator of that war, which we are afraid to say is government itself.

If truth be told, government is unwittingly shooting itself in both feet by getting involved in these odd shenanigans that are scoring zero points on its National Development Strategy 1 scorecard.

All the visitor can do is to urge government to rethink its strategy on Harare, which it seems to be forgetting that the city is the face of the country to visitors.

Related Topics