All Eyes on the Local Government Board…

We have constantly been pondering on the root cause of erratic service provision in Harare, but have never stopped to think or talk about the individuals who run the show in council. Well, today we take a look at our directors who call the shots on a day to day basis. Of paramount importance is that their contracts are coming to an end and as residents we have vowed to challenge the system that has been incubating these individuals and protecting them from scrutiny. To date, the director of Huma

Back door appointments

Acknowledging that the current crop of individuals who constitute the local government board have since alienated themselves from their core function as stipulated by section 123 of the Urban councils Act [29:15], we are not shocked by the fact that the Town Engineer’s appointment is alleged not to have gone for inspection by the Local Government Board. The same has also happened on the other directors who have either been appointed on the basis of political or social merit. It is also alleged that Mr. Pfukwa (the Town Engineer) is married to Dr Chombo’s sister. Talk of nepotism!

Initially, Harare City Council used to have at least 5 directors who included the Town clerk, Chamber Secretary, City Treasurer and two other directors at a time when there where executive Mayors. However, we now have ten directors who do not only gobble huge sums of rate payers’ money in salaries and allowances, but exhibit serious duplication of roles and incompetence.

For example, the department of water is responsible for digging trenches and replacing pipes but the department of engineering is responsible for closing these trenches; yet most of the trenches that have been dug in Harare have been left open. As we write this piece, a child has been electrocuted near pennywise where an unclosed trench exposed live wire resulting in the child being electrocuted.

When these departments where increased, the department of engineering was given at least 742 boarder Gezi graduates courtesy of Saviour Kasukuwere and among these youths was included Jim Kunaka, a self made political martial artist, who leads the infamous Zanu PF aligned group, Chipangano. CHRA is also informed that Jim comes from Zvimba and is within the Zanu PF ranks together with Minister Chombo.

The Council we want

The founding vision of Zimbabwe’s local government must have had the people at heart. However, that vision has been thwarted by such actions as mentioned above. CHRA is fully aware that the perks offered by Harare City council can undoubtedly attract credible, competent and committed individuals to serve as directors of Council. Without mentioning scenarios.

We believe that to a greater extent, the directors have not been able to fulfill the needs of residents in terms of service delivery. Residents have had water supplies disconnected, properties attached and have borne the brunt of a typhoid scare and yet we argue that we have competent directors. We demand that a transparent process be done in terms of appointing new directors and that partisan appointment should stop.

CHRA would like to urge the Local Government Board to stick to its core mandate of credibly selecting and appointing senior council officials who would have had been shortlisted by Councilors (as is stipulated in the Urban Councils’ Act). In recent times, we have seen the Local Government Board employing people who would have failed to make it through during interviews at Local Authority level. CHRA suggests that the Board should stop acting as the ministerial consultant in appointing directors but should be credible enough to appoint people who can deliver in their various respective portfolios. The process should be transparent and the Board should make sure that citizens play an oversight role as they are the ones who are paying the rates and they deserve a fair exchange for their money.

We demand value for our money!!!

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