HARARE mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has hit back at President Robert Mugabe accusing him of trying to score cheap political points by blaming MDC-T- led local authorities for the poor state of roads.
Addressing an MDC-T campaign rally in Norton on Sunday, Manyenyeni said most policies pursued by the Zanu PF-led government had had a negative effect on councils’ operations.
“President Mugabe said we [councils] must be jerked-up, but I want to say until we have a national solution, a council solution is a far cry. You and me still have a long way to go,” Manyenyeni said.
Manyenyeni said the national solution would allow councils to operate freely without economic challenges, adding that Zimbabwe was in an economic quagmire spilling over to local authorities.
“The national solution will determine the council solution. At the moment, the country is in a crisis and until there is that solution, there is nothing more to be done,” he said.
In his speech at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, Mugabe chided councils for poor service delivery, particularly potholed urban roads and erratic water supply.
“Councillors would say they don’t have money, but where does it go? We pay rent, we pay rates, we would now want to know. So, local government has got to be jerked up so that it can jerk up our councillors so that they can look after the people better. But we in government also must look to build better roads, dualisation… and not just resurfacing of roads,” Mugabe said.
“So we must work on infrastructure, infrastructure utilities like Zesa and water, sewage, my my my!” he said.
“We are drinking raw water, all that sewage running into water sources and the doctors have said our water is not clean, in all the cities, that’s why we have put an emergency committee in the Cabinet, we have created an emergency committee to look at water immediately, and sewage and try to clean all the cities.”
Harare City Council, together with other local authorities last year claimed they were seriously crippled by Zanu PF’s populist decision to scrap debts owed by residents at the height of election campaigns for the July 31 elections.
As a result, they said it set a wrong precedent where residents were now refusing to pay rates hoping government will one day erase the accruing debts.