Calamitous Harare council

HARARE - It is  a pity that Harare residents woke up this week with no tap water amid a big scandal surrounding Harare City Council’s $144,4 million loan facility recently secured from China.

While the contentious loan secured from China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation in 2010 is meant to rehabilitate the capital’s water and sewerage infrastructure, stories bound on misappropriation of the funds are disturbing.

What a shame that when the loan arrived, Harare City Council officials’ top priority was to instead buy themselves new cars.

And more disturbing are reports that  senior officials getting the cars had already received another bunch of new vehicles last year under a council scheme.

But like vultures in a wild and dry land, the officials decided to drink the last drop coming as a loan meant to avert a water crisis currently gripping the city.

The officials completely forgot that these funds were supposed to bankroll the water distribution and rehabilitation project currently underway at Morton Jaffray Water Works.

City council officials clandestinely bought 50 cars worth $2 million in what has become a shame, indeed a joke considering that some households in Harare have gone for years without a drop of tap water.

Harare City Council town clerk Tendai Mahachi allegedly received a Range Rover Evoque while engineers Christopher Zvobgo and Phillip Pfukwa took delivery of Land Rover Discovery 4 SUVs while other officials obtained Ford Rangers, Isuzu and Toyota twin-cab trucks.

Council has over the years taken ratepayers for granted, ignoring their plea for access to potable water to oil their expensive lifestyles and paying themselves hefty salaries.

Households across the city continue to run without tap water and residents have to scrounge for the precious liquid from unprotected wells which are known breeding ponds for all sorts of bacteria.

I think it is evil and indeed heartless for council officials to splash money meant for humanitarian cause to spoil themselves with sparkling new cars while residents have to wake up at 4am in search of water.

Some children in Harare have never used a shower in their lives, let alone flash a toilet because tap water never runs in their homes.

It is a pity when residents start making comparisons in that during Smith’s time there never used to be any shortage of tap water like what they are seeing today — with a black government.

We have witnessed is corruption taking place before us, which will derail urgent work on the rehabilitation of the city’s water and sewerage infrastructure.

The officials at city council are abusing ratepayers while everyone watches and pretend all is well.

Residents associations that include Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) and Harare Resident Trust, Hrt should rise and stand for their constituency.

People in Harare need clean tap water and they are angry that money meant to solve the water crisis has been diverted by people who shamelessly love to pamper themselves with “good things”.

The developments at Town House over the China deal will hurt ratepayers most as they will be saddled with repayment of the inflated loan rates.

While Harare mayor, Benard Manyenyeni ordered a probe into allegations that Mahachi used funds under a Chinese loan deal to buy the top-of-the range vehicles without council approval, residents feel short changed as those implicated still run the show at Town House.

Residents are not sure how many other purchases or suspicious transactions have been made by council officials using the Chinese loan considering that apart from the vehicles for top officials, 10 tractors, 35 single-cab trucks, 14 top-of-the-range vehicles, four ambulances, two containers of computers and laptops were bought at inflated prices without going to tender.

And as the drama at Town House continues to unfold and play in the public domain, the minister responsible for local government, Ignatius Chombo seems not bothered at all.

Otherwise we should have long seen heads rolling at Town House!

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.