City Hires Nine CMED Vehicles

Harare - the City of Harare has reportedly hired nine heavy vehicles from the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) for use in carrying out road maintenance work at a cost of US$100 per vehicle per day, costing the council US$900 a day, US$6 300 a week and US$25 200 every month, if the vehicles are being used everyday. The vehicles have been with the City of Harare since the beginning of March 2011.

Yet the City of Harare can keep that amount of money and use it to buy its own vehicles which they can maintain at a lower cost. City employees also believe that the city of Harare is being wasteful but have no way of convincing their leadership to abandon this costly move. The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) is alarmed at this poor judgment on the part of the leadership in the Engineering Department of the City of Harare or whichever department made this costly decision. The council should be able to purchase its own vehicles for road maintenance and other uses necessary for effective service provision.

The decision to hire the nine trucks from the CMED exposes the inherent weaknesses in the administration of city resources by the leadership. This leaves the City bleeding as it has proven that it is unable to raise enough revenue from rates and rentals from business, government and residents. It remains a mystery how the city will recoup the spent money.

While in the short term the hiring of these trucks might be helpful, it leaves the city more vulnerable as the rainy season draws nearer and more erosion occurs on our roads. More potholes will emerge and the need for more vehicles to carry out road maintenance increases.

Councillors Gobble City Funds on UCAZ Workshop While City had No Water

LAST Tuesday 10-14 May 2011, city councillors attended a four-day workshop in Victoria Falls, organised by the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) where each was given a total of US$290 by the City of Harare from ratepayers money. Reports indicate that the sponsor of the programme also gave at least US$200 to each councillor. Due to attendance at various workshops the councillors delayed convening the Full Council meeting for April to 17 May 2011.

At the same time, major parts of Harare had no water, leaving residents hopeless and feeling abandoned. Even after their return from the Vic Falls, none of the elected councillors held a feedback meeting with the residents of Harare to inform them of what they learnt from the workshop and how they will promote public participation of the residents in the administration of the City. The essence of attending workshops is to gain knowledge and share some experiences. However, the repeated attendances of workshops by the city fathers has not translated into enhanced understanding of their roles in improving service provision and coming up with pro-people policies. The City fathers have to become transparent and accountable. They need to promote public participation in the running of the local authority. The way they are handling residents issues has left the HRT wondering whether or not residents problems will ever be resolved by the current crop of councillors.

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