Harare City Council is in the middle of a serious crisis characterised by massive divisions, multiple arrests of officials and incessant power struggles.
All these factors have combined to worsen the service delivery arm of the institution.
Currently there is no Town Clerk. There is no Mayor. And only two management positions have substantive directors the rest are acting.
It is however on the political front that a peculiar scene is playing out.
24 out of 46 Councilors have been recalled by the MDC-T resulting in a precarious situation which requires attendance of almost everyone for them to constitute a quorum.
Of the 22 Councilors that remain, they are splintered among those for MDC-T and others for MDC-Alliance. The ensuing frictions are not good for service delivery.
None of the two opposition parties has effective and sole control of the capital. So who has power now?
According to MDC Alliance Secretary for Local Government Sesel Zvidzai, the on-going situation shows that a commission is now running the capital.
“A total of 24 out of 46 Councilors have been recalled and that means the committees cannot work effectively, the council cannot work effectively.
“Combined with this is the suspension of the Town Clerk and other directors. These operatives have been replaced by the Minister of Provincial Affairs one Chidawu and Provincial Development Coordinator a Mr Muguti.
“Effectively, Harare is now being run by a commission. What is left is for this commission just to go full blown and begin to destroy the City of Harare”.
The idea of a commission running Harare has always been attractive for the government since last year when Information Permanent Secretary Ndabaningi Mangwana began driving a social media charge advancing that idea.
However, the idea was quickly and effectively fought by various organisations such as Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) which warned of legal action against such moves.
Having been defeated that way the present scenario appears to be an acceptable alternative for the government.
Through the MDC-T Supreme Court judgement it has managed to render weak the MDC-Alliance through recalls and supplanted it with the offices of PDC.
The absence of various substantive office holders, elected officials and incumbents at Harare Council is a good situation for the government.
There won’t be any hurry to deal with all the arrested officials just as there have not been any hurry to hold by-elections to replace recalled Councilors.
The prevailing vacuum is a space for the ruling party to flex its muscles where it sees a need and amplifying the failures of the opposition when convenient.
A whole system for service delivery has been effectively reduced into a political power-play.