The Urban Councils Authority of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) says the crusade by the ruling Zanu PF to blame the opposition on the chaotic state of most urban councils, served no purpose but only worsened service delivery to ratepayers.

This was said by UCAZ president, Josiah Makombe who is also the Gweru mayor while addressing journalists in the city Thursday, Makombe.

Instead, he said there was need for local councils and the central government find each other and work on improving service delivery, which has crumbled in most cities and towns.

Most urban councils are failing to provide residents and businesses with basic facilities like water, primary health care, failure to collect garbage, repair roads and other services.

The Zanu PF leadership including government ministers have accused the main opposition party, the MDC Alliance, of running down urban councils through corruption and setting up illegal housing structures on state land.

Most urban councils are under the control of the Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance.

They are a lot of issues where government and the local authorities need to sit down together and solve these issues. The blame game will never take us anywhere,” Makombe said.

He said to resolve these challenges, the UCAZ had since engaged President Emmerson Mnangagwa and they had presented to him a position paper on challenges being faced by the local authorities.

As UCAZ, we have engaged the government. We have held meetings with the President of the country and the Minister of Local Government (July Moyo) and we presented the challenges that local authorities are facing,” he said.

The Gweru mayor could not, however, be drawn into giving specifics of what was contained in the position paper which UCAZ handed over to Mnangagwa.

However, Makombe said the local councils were not responsible for most of the challenges faced by the municipalities.

We all agree that ZINARA (Zimbabwe National Road Administration) is not doing well since they took licensing from local authorities. We are arguing that the disbursement methods are favouring the rural councils than urban,” he said.

We agree that there is rampant corruption at ZINARA and some of the officials are in court as we speak. They have been looting money and that (looted) money is supposed to be disbursed to local authorities. So it’s difficult to say local authorities are failing. We cannot operate independently; we always need support from government.

“I expect government to give us money to repair roads not to take money from our allocation from devolution funds. It then becomes a challenge,” he said.

Credit: New Zimbabwe

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