Sports cannot take precedence over service delivery

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) notes the 24 hour ultimatum by Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere for the Harare City Council to clear garbage that has been mounting in various parts of Harare.

Saviour Kasukuwere

While giving his order yesterday, June 19, 2017, Honorable Kasukuwere expressed concern that the Harare City Council was splashing millions on football at the expense of service delivery.

The sentiments by the Minister vindicate our long held claims that failure to prioritize effective service delivery, coupled with lack of transparency and accountability was largely responsible for the poor state of affairs in Harare.

According to Harare City Council Corporate Communications Manager, Michael Chideme, Harare City Council has a total annual sports budget of $5.5 million.

The sports budget is broken down as follows; golf- $100 000, volleyball- $255. 743, netball $323-333, basketball- $1 376.124, inter-cities tournament- $100 000, women’s soccer- $500.000, junior soccer- $475 000, councilors ward sports kits acquisition- $180 000, ward sports facilities development- $150 000, council sports tournament- $150 000, senior men’s soccer (Harare City Football Club)- $2 million.

The huge spending on sport by the Harare City Council comes at a time service delivery is at its low in Harare with non-collection of refuse and erratic water supplies being the norm.

As CHRA, we are on record that in as much as we appreciate sports development, we are against a situation whereby sports take precedence over effective service delivery.

Of major concern is the fact that sport has been turned into a looting avenue by council bigwigs as evidenced by the huge spending that has seen millions being splashed on sport while residents continue to be exposed to diseases due to poor service delivery.

This month (June 2017), Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni expressed concern over huge spending by a council delegation accompanying a Harare City basketball team to Swaziland for a tournament.

According to Mayor Manyenyeni, the total expenses for the team’s trip amounted to $84 682.00 with 2 Councilors and 7 Executives pocketing $15 380.00 in allowances.

It is unfortunate that such huge spending as alluded to by Mayor Manyenyeni comes at a time the Harare City Council is claiming they do not have money to buy fuel for refuse trucks.

CHRA reiterates the need for proper mechanisms to guard against abuse of public funds at Harare City Council.

We are further concerned by the continued abuse of public office by top council bigwigs who apparently ride on their political connections.

CHRA implores Minister Kasukuwere to ensure the depoliticisation of affairs at the Harare City Council if efforts to promote transparency and accountability are to bear fruit.

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