By Thandiwe Garusa
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa Saturday appeared keen on exonerating under-fire local authorities run by his party amid a storm over the continued bungling of the Harare water crisis.
The MDC run Harare City Council was on Monday last week forced to shut down Morton Jaffray Water Works, the city’s main water treatment plant citing the shortage of water purification chemicals.
The shock developments which plunged a city of 2 million into a crisis saw the party trade accusations with the Zanu PF run central government which has overbearing control over how councils are run.
But at a party 20th anniversary celebrations at Rufaro Stadium on Saturday, Chamisa said MDC run local authorities were committed to delivering services to rate payers but were being held back by central government.
“Our commitment is to make sure that we make a difference in the local authorities but here is the dilemma, you cannot do miracles in an environment where you are not able to have a stable macroeconomic environment,” he said.
Chamisa said it was unfair for government to compare MDC with South African opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) which governs in 33 municipalities, among them South Africa’s legislative capital, Cape Town; the administrative capital, Tshwane; and the country’s economic centre, Johannesburg.
“They compare us with DA but DA has a conducive environment for them to perform and In our situation, the economy is not performing. All procurement is done by central government,” said the MDC leader.
“The issue of tenders is also done by central government.
“So we told our councillors to make a difference. Whoever is caught being corrupt we discipline…because we want an accountable leadership which does smart development,” said Chamisa.
Since its formation and first participation in national elections in 2000, MDC has converted urban areas into their fortress relegating Zanu PF to the rural areas.
Urban local authorities have struggled to provide basic services for rate payers amid continued interference by central government which has often fired some mayors and councillors and replaced them with caretaker Commissions.
The situation has never improved even under the Commissions.