Last week Harare City Council’s sole substantive department head, health services director Dr Prosper Chonzi, turned down an offer to become acting town clerk.
In his reasons Chonzi said the health department, which he leads, is heavily committed to fighting Covid-19 and because he does not feel himself qualified outside his public health profession to solve city problems.
“Your worship it is my humble submission that it is not prudent to change guard at the health department at this critical point in response to this unprecedented outbreak that has shocked the city to its core,” read his letter.
“The city currently faces a myriad of challenges that include town planning and land management issues, water and sewer reticulation deficits, waste management, roads infrastructure, human resources and outstanding disciplinary cases, finance and cash flow challenges. All these challenges require a full time person focused on these matters and with the relevant competencies in the aforementioned areas,” he said.
Dr Chonzi was responding to Clr Mutizwa who himself is the current acting Mayor for Harare.
The original Mayor, Herbert Gomba was recalled by Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC-T whilst his supposed replacement Jacob Mafume was arrested on corruption charges.
Noteworthy is that he was re-arrested on further charges of bribery.
His return is a distant mirage.
Thus currently the capital city has no substantive Mayor and no substantive Town Clerk. The former role has an acting leader whilst the latter is now open.
The substantive Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango is suspended pending finalisation of his own corruption charges.
Various other roles such as Directors are also vacant and have temporary replacements which include finance director Stanely Ndemera and chamber secretary Mr Charles Kandemiri who are all acting.
Currently the Council itself has questionable numbers which require full attendance by everyone for a quorum due to incessant recalls that have plundered it.
To create political space for themselves the MDC-T has removed all the rebellious Councilors and left a few who are now struggling to run anything.
It’s a city in a crisis.
To add more woe to the situation on the ground nothing is moving.
Service delivery has gotten worse and various areas of Westlea, Kuwadzana and Warren Park have gone for than two months with no refuse collected.
It’s a grim situation that also puts into question the addition of the new layer of power which is the Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC).
The many layers of power around the capital are not producing anything of note for the residents as Harare continues to burn.
With such a situation it’s already clear that the 2025 dream for world class city status is a mirage better forgotten.