By Leopold Munhende
THE MDC has distanced itself from massive corruption happening at the Harare City Council, saying the ruling Zanu PF party was behind the rot with councillors from the main opposition now reduced to ‘mere spectators’.
Jacob Mafume, the councillor for Ward 17, said the graft in the municipality was because of unnecessary interference by the Zanu PF government into the affairs of the country’s biggest local authority.
He was speaking at a media training workshop on community reporting organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) in Harare last week.
“There is no devolution in this country. When we removed the position of Executive Mayor, everything fell apart. The accounting officer is now the Town Clerk who is a government employee,” said Mafume who also doubles up as the MDC secretary for elections..
“The Local Government Minister has powers to direct on any issue and we cannot do anything, we can only watch, as councillors we have been reduced to mere spectators.
“The very person we beat in the 2018 elections (President Emmerson Mnangagwa), who has one councillor in the chambers, is the one who is determining everything.
“We cannot buy a pen without going to the President’s Office and there has been a noticeable delay of everything. Our budget has to be approved by the minister and it (2020 budget) has not been approved yet.”
Added Mafume: “We have not been able to employ people with relevant experience and qualifications such as the chamber secretary, finance director and HR (human resources) director because the minister is yet to act.
“The Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) takes all the road levies, but people still expect us to fix the roads when the money collected is being used to finance government projects totally divorced from what the funds are supposed to be doing. Once government took the levies away from us, the roads disappeared.”