Yesterday we took a stroll into Mbare.
Mbare is Harare’s oldest township and is highly populated. It is also home to Zimbabwe’s biggest terminus, Mbare Musika, and also house Harare’s biggest vegetable market.
But Mbare is not getting the attention it deserves in terms of service delivery as the MDC-led Harae City Council dithers and tithers, with a hidgepodge of councillors who are preoccupied with lining their pockets.
Today, poor drainage is evidenced by mud ruts. Today, mounds of uncollected garbage are the fad of the suburb. Rotten fruits and vegetables, raw sewage, and bins overspilling with garbage, dwarf vendors and farmers as they try and eke a living. Again the dirty is s step backwards in the fight again cholera, typhoid and Covid-19, yet the city fathers have preoccupied themselves with corruptly amassing wealth, selling every available open space and charging people money for services they never deliver.
With the market currently being closed for “upgrading” traders were yesterday seen packed in the newly-constructed carpark selling an assortment of products, including mango and tomatoes, in the midst of uncollected garbage that has been there for months now.
Vendors were also seen cooking sadza and chips in the open with houseflies buzzing all over.
The rains also worsened the situation as the refuse has become an eyesore. There was a heap of uncollected garbage at Mupedzanhamo complex, close to the city council offices and at the Mutare rank near OK supermarket.
Acting city spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende however, said they are progressively clearing the mounds since Monday.
Mr Ruwende, however, tried to shift the local authority’s failure to ratepayers.
“We had fuel problems. The problem is only 25 percent of ratepayers are paying their bills, hence council is struggling to provide services.
“Residents and ratepayers should know that they fund service delivery and they should play their part. This has been worsened by the decision by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority who last week garnished our bank accounts demanding full payment of $115 million in outstanding taxes,” he said.
Mr Ruwende said the garnishee order was adversely affecting the council’s daily operations as it cannot honour payments to service providers, including fuel and water treatment chemical suppliers.
“This has seen the city failing to collect refuse in time and garbage piling up across the city. The city is also failing to pay its workers as a result. The city is currently engaging the revenue collector so that it secures relief on aspects of that amount,” he said.
Indignation, exasperation and ire best described the feeling of the hawkers at Mbare who had no kind words for the local authority.