Local authorities play an important role in any city and they have a wide remit and a range of responsibilities, ranging from housing, providing funding to local youth, arts and sports services, as well as maintaining and operating public swimming pools, Libraries, leisure centres and playgrounds.
Many public amenities, like parks and monuments, are maintained by local authorities.
However, in this article I will narrow my scope and focus on a few things I would like to question with regards my home city Bulawayo.
Bulawayo is one of the most beautiful cities in Zimbabwe. It has been known for its cleanliness in the past dubbed the city of kings and queens.
However, it has been known for its perennial water shortages. Over the years projects such as the Zambezi water project have been tabled to try to alleviate the water crisis nonetheless there has never been a successful water project to date.
The city fathers (the Bulawayo city council) have in the past managed to keep the city in order, maintaining the roads and supplying clean water and collecting garbage regularly.
Indeed, in a functional country the Local government is responsible for a range of vital services for people and businesses in defined areas. Among them are well known functions such as social care, schools, housing and planning and waste collection, but also lesser known ones such as licensing, business support, registrar services and pest control.
However, there has been a marked decline in service delivery and the city is fast deteriorating into a dump. The question is why are the standards being lowered?Understandably there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and corruption is at shocking levels. The tussles between central government and the local authority are more visible now than ever.
The blame game is in full swing as the city fathers but the blame on central government while the central government squarely place the blame on the city fathers for the malfunction on service delivery in the city.
Partisan politics has disrupted the normal functions of our city. It has now become a game of power between the MDC alliance run council and the Zanu PF run central government. While these two elephants tussle, the grass has suffered. The people and the city have been most affected. In fact the residents have taken much of the burden. They have been sidelined in all this.
In normal conditions the Councillors work with local people and partners, such as local businesses and other organisations, to agree and deliver on local priorities. The decisions are implemented by permanent council staff, council officers, who deliver services on a daily basis.
Sadly our counsellors are busy trying to score political punches in this circus punch up they are having with central government.
Residents in Bulawayo’s high density Suburbs can go for weeks without running water and for many it has become the norm. Garbage piles up uncollected for weeks in some areas and again that is fast becoming the new normal.
The puzzling thing about all this is how the residents have accepted this and are comfortable in making comparisons justifying how Bulawayo is relatively better than Harare. It is shocking how people have normalised the abnormal and have accepted the corruption that is taking place in places of authority.Residents now depend on borehole water for day to day use.
Who in the city council is responsible for making sure that the city has running water?
Where does The Zimbabwe National Water Authority come in? What role does the authority have in ensuring that our rivers supply the dams that harvest and harness rain water so that our city has enough supplies?Surely there must be councillors voted for by the people, to represent them who are in some committee that takes care of that.
What are our counsellors doing about this crisis and the deteriorating standards in our city?
How do they justify getting paid? We can no longer accept the excuse that central government is interfering and withholding funds.
We need to know what our counsellors are doing about it else why are they in office if they can not stand up and challenge the interference?
Our city is facing a never ending water crisis. We have just experienced an above normal rainfall season and yet our water sources the main dams that supply Bulawayo with water are reported to be less than have full.
Why have the city fathers and the water authority failed to harness these rains?
With all the rains that have been falling in Zimbabwe, particularly Matebeleland in this rainy season can someone at The Zimbabwe National Water Authority
Please explain why there still is no running water in most of Bulawayo?
How is it that most of the dams are still reported to be below 50% full?
Upper Ncema is at 43%
Mzingwane is at 42%
Lower Ncema is at 14%
What is going on Zinwa are you looting the water too?
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