Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba has criticized the leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Nelson Chamisa, for promising a “New Great Zimbabwe” while opposition-led councils have failed to provide basic services in urban areas. Charamba, responding to a Twitter post by Chamisa showing a well-maintained road and footbridge overlooking the sea, said that the opposition leader was “selling an illusion” that would never be achieved under the leadership of the opposition. He also criticized the opposition for “ruralizing” cities and towns and failing to provide clean and safe water, maintain sewage systems, and collect garbage.
Charamba’s statements come amid growing concerns over the performance of opposition-led councils in providing basic services to citizens. Since the turn of the century, council service delivery has slumped as local authorities have failed to provide basic needs such as clean and safe water. Councils have also struggled to maintain and upgrade sewage disposal systems in most high densities, resulting in unregulated flow of raw excrete posing a health risk. Streams of raw sewer are now a common sight in most high-density suburbs, including the capital city center.
Despite charging a fee for refuse collection, councils have failed to pick up garbage from locations, leaving ratepayers without any alternative except to dump heaps of rubbish on unused land in their residential areas. Council officials have however blamed the government for interfering with their operations.
In 2022, Harare City Council through its special meeting tried to ward off a waste management contract that had been entered between the government and Geogenix BV, a foreign company whose local representative is Delish Nguwaya, a business associate of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family. The squabble later on entailed court sessions while the ministry of local government later wrote to the Harare city council ordering the local authority to pay up the Pomona dumpsite bill that had ballooned to close to a million United States dollars.
The ongoing debate over the promises and capabilities of the opposition to lead and provide basic services to the citizens of Zimbabwe continues to be a contentious issue among political leaders and citizens alike.