Govt taking too long to act on councils

HARARE - The trial of former Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi has kicked off in the High Court.

Mahachi, along with other top council officials, are facing charges of awarding tenders to companies that did not participate in the bidding process.

During his time at Town House, councillors were up in arms with Mahachi whom they accused of running down the capital city but could not take any action against him because former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo always leapt to his defence.

It is good that as sure as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, Mahachi and other City of Harare executives are having their day in court.

Also worth noting is that the trial comes at a time when sickening shenanigans have been exposed in other municipalities elsewhere.

That skeletons are tumbling out of the closets at a time government is acting tough on corruption gives a sense that the end is nigh for rotten apples in our councils.

The sad part is that while council officials are busy lining their pockets, service delivery is worsening.

Councils are failing to offer basic services such as making safe drinking water available to residents, collecting refuse on time and disposing of it properly. Roads are becoming impassable and street lights have ceased to be a priority.

Reports of burst sewer pipes are still rampant due to ageing water and sewer reticulation systems — a situation which is contributing to the outbreak of waterborne diseases.

A common excuse given by council bosses is that revenue has drastically declined because of the worsening economic situation, with the domino effect being felt through poor service delivery.

And yet the reality is that most of them are hopelessly incompetent and are possessed by the spirit of stealing. The many corruption cases involving council officials should remind us all that we have entrusted jackals to guard the goats.

We can, however, take comfort in the fact that President Emmerson Mnangagwa abhors corruption and has pledged to take the vice by its horns.

He has also tasked his Cabinet to map out a 100-day plan to reverse the rot inherited from the regime of former president Robert Mugabe.

While corrective action is already being taken elsewhere, especially in the security sector, we are concerned that the Local Government ministry is taking its sweet time to implement a roots-and-branch shake-up in our councils to get rid of rotten apples.

Such serious action can help Mnangagwa’s administration look good in the eyes of our long-suffering residents.

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