Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

Incompetent corrupt local authorities will cost CCC vital votes!

23 Oct 2022 at 12:28hrs | Views
As we, in the small town of Redcliff, near one full year without any running water in our taps, more and more urban dwellers - who had already lost hope, and disgruntled with the national government's ruination of a once prosperous country - are swiftly becoming disenchanted with our opposition-led local authorities, who have turned our lives into a living nightmare.

Zimbabweans appear a cursed lot - akin to the proverbial luckless cigarette, being burnt on one end, and bitten upon on the other - since we now find ourselves completely alone, with no where to run to, and no one to come to our aid, as whichever political side we turn to, we encounter those who are more interested in enriching themselves at the expense of the suffering ordinary citizenry.

What wrong have the people of Zimbabwe committed - such that, we have a ruling ZANU PF party that finds nothing absolutely wrong with looting and mismanaging a country, once regarded as 'the jewel of Africa' and 'breadbasket of the region', into a basket case that has turned millions of ordinary citizens into paupers, living in indescribable poverty?

On the other hand, we find the opposition CCC and MDC running down previously sparkling and glamorous towns and cities, into ramshackle hovels - where such a basic but essential life-giving commodity as water (which residents are constitutionally entitled to) has been transformed into a rare species - leaving many at the risk of archaic diseases as cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever.

What we find in our local authorities, as in my own Redcliff, is shocking, to say the least - whereby, opaqueness is the order of the day, with most deals (some involving the sale of our land) shrouded in mystery and lacking transparency - as persistent requests for detailed information over these transactions never bear any significant fruit.

In spite of a land deal with power utility, ZESA, made several months ago, ostensibly meant to address this perennial water crisis - proceeds alleged to have been channeled towards clearing a huge ZW$126 million outstanding bill owed the neighboring city of Kwekwe (from where our water comes from) - not a single drop of water has been forthcoming to the residents of Redcliff suburb.

Instead, there have been more bizarre excuses after the other - none of them making any sense at all, with the next even more ludicrous and incredulous than the last - leaving most residents questioning what is truly happening in town house.

As a matter of fact, in spite of claims that the sale of our land had been used to fulfill the massive ZW$126 million debt (accumulated over the course of years) - we are now told that our current water bill to Kwekwe has already miraculously breached the ZW$20 million mark?

How - when most of us have seldom seen the precious liquid coming out of our home taps for nearly a year?

What is going on here?

As a matter of fact, the latest report by Zimbabwe's Auditor General, Mildred Chiri, unearthed gross mismanagement, irregularities and flouting of tender regulations by the municipality of Redcliff - with the most horrifying being the sale of 21 hectares of land to Livetouch Investments, to the staggering tune of US$847,962 in exchange for vehicles!

Chiri was clearly repulsed by the brazen violation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act - since, not only did the sale not to go to tender, but as Livetouch Investments was into chrome processing, and not a vehicle supplier, the entire deal was seriously flawed.

What were those vehicles our local authority exchanged for an asset as invaluable as land?

Four Toyota Hilux, one Toyota Fortuner, Toyota 18-seater bus, one Backhoe loader, five Nissan NP300 trucks, one Grader, one Skip bin loader, one Toyota Quantum ambulance, and a fire tender.

What caught my attention more than anything else though, were the luxury cars that found their way into this deal!

For whom were they procured - albeit, unprocedurally?

It gets worse - as, according to the Chiri report, a Faw Underpan truck, fire tender, Faw Underpan motor vehicle, among others, were not even delivered!

The local authority did not stop there - based on the Auditor General, on 31 August 2021, Redcliff municipality paid Classic Mobile using stands valued at US$13,348 (with an offer letter dated 26 October 2020) for the purchase of mobile phones.

Are these people serious - selling our land, in exchange for mobile phones - yet, we do not have water in our homes?

In all these unbelievably shocking deals - no repayments had been made, as at 30 November 2021, to the Estates Fund for these transactions, in stark violation of an order issued 21 September 2015, by the ministry of local government, warning municipalities to desist from utilizing land for recurrent expenditure.

In the case of Redcliff, these deals have not benefited ordinary residents in any form or shape - as we continue without any running water, refuse never collected, and standards in steady decline.

Where are we to find help?

Who is to hear our cries - when we are caught between a ruling party who are masters of destruction and turmoil (never having accomplished anything of note in their 42 years of misrule) - and an opposition, in whom many Zimbabweans had placed their hopes, yet turned out not to be any better, but just as greedy, corrupt and incompetent?

Let us not hide behind the excuse of the management in all local authorities being appointed by the ruling establishment - hellbent on tarnishing the image of elected opposition councillors and mayors - since, these same councillors have the power, under the Urban Councils Act, to suspend those in administration for any acts of corruption or incompetence.

Regrettably, we have not seen anything of the sort taking place - not even if the local government minister is forced to intervene in saving his appointees.

In fact, what we witness, in utter dismay and disgust, are opposition mayors and councillors apparently working in cahoots with, or even defending, those in management.

If the opposition harbors any hopes of retaining its seats in their traditional urban strongholds - then, they need to be seen to be serious about fighting this rot, and a zero tolerance for looting and mismanagement - or else, they run the real risk of losing in dramatic fashion next year.

They need to put in place people who are genuinely committed to the upliftment of the citizenry's livelihoods and wellbeing, and a proven track record of honesty and trustworthiness.

Failure of which, they should not be surprised watching their seats moving back to ZANU PF - not because of any renewed popular support for the chief architects of our misery - but, simply on account of massive voter apathy in 2023, against a ruling party excellent at pushing its supporters to vote.

‚óŹ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com


Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.