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Mafume must stop shifting blame

17 Dec 2020 at 06:48hrs | Views
Since his election as the Mayor of Harare in September this year, MDC Alliance Ward 17 Councillor, Jacob Mafume, has not done anything to resolve Harare's woes except to shift blame on central Government.

Instead of giving Harare residents his assessment of the challenges facing the city and lay out his strategy to turn around the fortunes of the capital, all he has been doing is railing against Government.

When he got into office, it became clear to all that his agenda was politicking for his party and not serving the residents. He immediately hit the opposition ground running by rushing to meet the Australian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bronte Moules ostensibly to discuss "how the embassy can cooperate with council on a number of programmes."

Instead of visiting the residents of suburbs such as Mabvuku, Tafara and Borrowdale whose taps have grown cobwebs as they last received municipal water many years back, he prioritised his party's handlers and funders.

Less than three months into his tenure Mafume, showed the world that his mission at Town House was not to serve anyone except his party leader, Nelson Chamisa, by fighting Government.

His mission is to create disaffection towards Government by blaming it for the MDC Alliance councillors' very poor stewardship of Harare and other urban local authorities.

Commenting on the perennial water shortages facing the capital city, Mafume criticised Government over the delays in the construction of dam projects like Kunzvi in Goromonzi.

He mocked Government by claiming that, instead of building dams to provide water for Harare residents, it was building dams for animals in game parks.

The mayor has never taken collective responsibility on behalf of the MDC Alliance for Harare's various challenges.

He argues that Government should be responsible for ensuring water availability as if he does not know that the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) presided over Harare's water supply, but his party's councillors successfully lobbied for the reversal of the decision.

He blames Government for not building dams as if he is not aware that former Chitungwiza Town Clerk, George Makunde, championed the construction of Muda Dam to provide a lasting solution to that town's water problems.

Makunde was haunted and hounded out of Chitungwiza by the MDC Alliance-dominated Chitungwiza Town Council after it was realised that he was outshining it in terms of vision. Since his departure, the MDC Alliance councillors have failed to maintain the momentum which the project had gathered.

To Mafume every problem is caused by central Government. Last week, while commenting on the horrible state of Harare's roads, he blamed Government for moving the licensing of motor vehicles from local authorities to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) as if the City of Harare does not collect revenue from its residents.

Instead of waiting for allocations from ZINARA, City of Harare should have its own road fund resourced by an allocation from the revenue collected from residents. Instead of telling residents and motorists what his council was doing to improve the city's roads, Mafume again mocked Government for allegedly using ZINARA revenue to build roads for wildlife in reference to the ongoing Karoi-Binga Road project.

The fact that he seems not to know the role of ZINARA and his mixing of issues between ZINARA and local authorities in terms of funding urban roads exposed the poor candidate-job fit in his election to mayorship. Mafume has made it his mission to fight Government even where the latter is expected to sanction some of its activities such as procurement to facilitate oversight and accountability.

Recently, he appeared in an interview complaining that Government required his council to seek authority to procure items such as toilet tissue to emphasise his dislike for Government.

As a lawyer, one would expect that he would understand that it was part of procurement best practices that purchases go through national procurement bodies such as the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) in Zimbabwe's case.

In the process of pleasing Chamisa, Mafume exposed to the world his poor mettle as a lawyer and mayor. His confusion between the long gone State Procurement Board and PRAZ betrayed the fact that he is very ignorant about basic procurement practices in Zimbabwe.

Mafume's misplaced fight should be directed at his own party's councillors who have gained not a reputation for serving their residents, but disrepute for corruption and grand theft of municipal pieces of land for personal gain.

Land pillaging has become the hallmark of the MDC Alliance's 20-year stewardship of the 28 urban local authorities that it controls. Only last week, Bulawayo City Council officials made headlines by gobbling Z$1.5 million in a workshop held in Matopo.

Apart from overspending, the officials broke a Government regulation, which requires that such events should be held within the local authorities' areas of jurisdiction.

Instead of fighting Government, Mafume should be worried about his own shameless abuse of office that saw him allegedly selling land to his sister and secretary at the expense of other half a million home seekers on the city's housing waiting list.

This and his constant rantings against Government's authority over local authority tell that Mafume has no regard for laws of the land despite being a lawyer. His tirade about ZINARA indicates his desire for an environment, which facilitates the unfettered looting of the local and funds from the licensing of motor vehicles.

In fact, the objective of Mafume's war against Government is to create a seceded Harare, where he would plunder the local authority for the benefit of his cash strapped party. He should, however, be reminded that there will not a local authority without a central Government ministry to oversee it.

He has to learn to accept that he cannot just wish Government away.

Instead of training his guns on central Government, Mafume should be telling Harare residents how some City of Harare housing department workers connived with an offshoot of Tembwe Housing Cooperative called Events Housing Cooperative to secure an eviction order used to demolish houses belonging to Tembwe Housing Cooperative houses in Budiriro last week. He was quick to blame Government for the heartless demolitions which exposed home owners to the weather elements.

Harare residents have had the wrong end of the stick from the MDC Alliance-dominated urban local authorities for some time now.

The city has about three residents' organisations which have been trying to bring the City of Harare to account.

The war against the recalcitrant MDC Alliance-led Harare municipality will not be over soon. The residents' trusts should roll up their sleeves even higher and bring war to Town House until the likes of Mafume realise that urban local authorities are not about pushing opposition politics or self-enrichment.

They should push harder until the local authorities realise that they are in place to serve all residents and not just their sisters and acquaintances as Mafume did.

Source - the herald
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