Exiled former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi has urged the Government to bring back executive mayors to address service delivery failures across the country.
Mzembi was responding to a video of uncollected rubbish in Mbare shared on Twitter by former Minister of Energy and Power Development, Fortune Chasi.
Chasi had blamed the Harare City Council for the uncollected garbage at Mbare’s produce market.
But Mzembi argued that interference in the affairs of local authorities by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works has negatively affected service delivery. He said:
(The) Harare mayor, after republic President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is the second most powerful measurable public service deployment.
Its budget is equivalent to 50% of all ministries combined. It has suffered from interference and lack of vision, Chasi.
Bring back an executive mayor, who is protected from the ministry of local government politics and interference, for functionality and supervision of Town House bureaucracy.
His authority should be checkmated by elected councillors only, not politicians!
Executive mayors must be a direct appointment or elected into office by bona fide ratepayers after satisfying them with their vision and suitability for office through an evaluated Statement of Policy Intent & Management of the City.
If we do not reassert the role and power of ratepayers, cities will continue to be blackmailed by our toxic politics, where the central government under ZANU PF and local authorities under opposition turn them into turf and political battlegrounds!
The Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has been accused of meddling with the running of affairs at Harare Town House.
Moyo has suspended two mayors in succession (Herbert Gomba and Jacob Mafume) and imposed one Steward Mutizwa.
Last week, Moyo also nullified the election of CCC councillor Enock Mupamawonde as Harare mayor and reimposed Mutizwa.
In recent years, the central Government has interfered with several local authorities among them Harare, Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Gweru, Kariba and Kwekwe.