Nothing can be further from the truth.
Indeed, I have never made a secret of my utter disdain and disgust at the manner in which opposition-run local authorities have pathetically and incompetently rundown our once sparkling and prosperous cities and towns into shameful shantytowns.
There is never an excuse for failure – no matter the magnitude of challenges one faces, and should those placed in positions of authority not deliver their stated and agreed mandates, then the honorable thing would be to admit their shortcomings and apologize.
Besides, no one is perfect and infallible – but, making excuses, and refusing to acknowledge their weaknesses and inadequacies, is the worst and most unacceptable decision they can ever make.
A leader is expected to confront any problems placed on his path, and find ways and solutions on circumventing any possible catastrophic results, or failure to deliver expected outcomes.
Nonetheless, as much as the opposition is directly in the line of fire – Zimbabwe’s ZANU PF-led central government can never dodge the bullet of blame.
Not by a long shot!
For starters, Zimbabwe has never had any real decentralization of power – as there is no genuine devolution, nor is it a federal, or any other system that allows provinces or cities and towns to truly stand alone, make their own decisions, and govern themselves.
As such, every decision that local authorities make needs to be run past central government, and seek approval – which has resulted in numerous developmental programs formulated by various municipalities either being rejected, altered, or interfered with.
It is an open secret that the ruling party has never shied away from sabotaging or scuttling several urban authorities’ programs – through those appointed into city and town management, such as town clerks, engineers, and many more, who actually run the day to day operations of these municipalities.
Furthermore, if ZANU PF could intervene in our urban areas, with their so-called Emergency Road Rehabilitation Program (ERRP) – in which, quite a few major roads where shoddily and haphazardly resurfaced (most of which are already potholed barely two months after the sub-standard work) – why have they not been able to also resolve the perennial water crisis, for instance (amongst a whole host of other issues)?
Does this not reveal a lack of capacity to achieve these desperately-needed developments – that have left most urban dwellers enduring worse living conditions than their rural counterparts, and teetering on the brink of devastating disease outbreaks, such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery?
As we have already noticed, the ruling ZANU PF party would never waste an opportunity to “prove” that they can deliver better than the opposition – as they tried in vain to do with the ERRP, especially in the face of crucial by-elections just around the corner on 26 March 2022, which they hope to win “resoundingly”.
Why, then, have they not gone full throttle, in finally fixing these severe water challenges that have crippled urbanites’ lives for years?
Would president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa not have loved launching his party’s campaign trail in Epworth, Harare, today (12 February 2022) dangling not just title deeds, but also reliable water supplies to the ever-suffering urban residents?
Yet, he did not, why?
Is it not clear that the ZANU PF government has absolutely no clue on how to resolve this crisis, and so many others bedevilling our towns and cities?
Before concluding, there is one more thing we need to remember as Zimbabweans – the stage for these never-ending challenges faced in urban areas began well before opposition parties took them over.
Have we forgotten that the then local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, appointed Elijah Chanakira to head a commission to run the affairs of the city of Harare, on 8 March 1999 – a good five months before the main opposition MDC party was even formed – to replace ZANU PF’s Solomon Tawengwa, on accusations of poor governance and rampant corruption in his council.
In other words, most urban centres in Zimbabwe were already on the cusp of catastrophe well before the opposition took them over – which is the main reason residents overwhelmingly booted out ZANU PF in the June 2000 general elections.
Therefore, these challenges being witnessed in our towns and cities did not come about as a result of opposition mismanagement – but, at the hands of ZANU PF itself.
Indeed, again, I will never exonerate the opposition for failing to address and recrify these problems – as expected of any good leadership – but, for ZANU PF to paint themselves clean is far fetched, and grossly deceptive.
ZANU PF is just as incompetent and inept – if not far worse – since this is the same party that has destroyed a once glorious and glamorous country, and ruined the livelihoods of millions of Zimbabweans.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured