The unilateral and unseemly suspension by Local Government Minister Saviour ‘Tyson’ Kasukuwere of the Harare Mayor, Bernard ‘Ben’ Manyanyeni, and the attempts to remove the Town Clerk, James Mushore, bring further dissonance to the capital city’s poor delivery of services.
(from left: Kasukuwere, Manyenyeni, Mushore, Tsvangirai, Mbanga)
Whether or not it is sour grapes by Tyson, also the national commissar in Mr Mugabe’s party, is being tested in court where he says the opposition controlled city council acted in breach of the Urban Councils Act in appointing Mushore. Not so, says Mr Tsvangirai’s party, arguing that the new constitution gives councils basic autonomy and chiding the hefty Tyson for being a pugilist who thinks the arena of politics is his personal boxing ring to fight those he doesn’t like or agree with.
Manyenyeni was doing his best against uneven odds presented by the continuing calamities within Mr Mugabe’s central government. The court wrangling is going to take some time, especially as the saga leaves more discord for Mr Tsvangirai in his fractious party after Chris Mbanga, one-time Tsvangirai chief of staff and election agent, apparently acceded to Tyson’s wish for him to step in as acting mayor.
Troubled citizens can now distract themselves from this typically Zimbabwean confusion with a new pastime – fixing potholes in their streets. In a new “community-based approach’’ people across the city “can take ownership of the roads in their respective suburbs.”
The first step is to levy $1 on each household to raise finance for cold tar and patching materials. Then there’s training from experts to teach volunteers how to properly patch a hole, followed by weekends doing the job.
“Volunteers who are free can get involved for a few hours on Saturday mornings,’’ say organisers.
A fine idea, all noble and good. But will the squabbling politicians take any notice, let alone reduce service charges or recognise miraculously improved areas, if there are any, on their way to golf, tennis or the bottle store in their leisure hours on a Saturday?
Do they, in their big cars, give anything to the unemployed who, behind ‘Pliz Help’ signs, fill holes with scrounged bricks and earth, rub their empty stomachs and point pathetically to their open mouths?
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, by the way, says the government has decided to refurbish hospitals on or near all the main highways because of the “disastrous” state of the roads. His term, not mine.
Chivhu is the first on the list, having had to deal with horrific carnage on the southern highway to South Africa it is now too poorly equipped and staffed to handle..
It will surely be cheaper than fixing, maintaining or widening the highways, and to those who have already died, sorry for that!