Vote wisely, associations urge residents

HARARE - Associations and pressure groups representing residents are calling on their members to vote for candidates capable of articulating their issues.

Associations canvassed by the Daily News said it was important for residents to vote for ward councillors that can provide them with social services such as water, primary healthcare, serviced stands, and clean water.

At the moment, most municipalities are struggling to provide these services, with most of them blaming their failure on political interference.

As a result, councils are grappling with the proliferation of land barons and outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.

The Zimbabwe Union of Residents and Ratepayers Association (Zurra) argued yesterday that the key to productive and development-oriented local authorities was devolution.

Zurra secretary-general, Rodrick Fuyayo said while the Constitution clearly states that there should be metropolitan and provincial councils, government has ignored this, adding that the administration to emerge from today’s poll must ensure that devolution sees the light of day.

“It is a crime that five years after the Constitution was enacted, we still do not have provincial and metropolitan councils. That excuse of having no money is now outdated. Devolution is the only way forward as it decentralises services to people who are in dire need of them while also taking the burden of people financially,” said Fuyayo.

“Apart from that the new administration should seriously look into re-introducing executive mayors. This business of having the minister meddling in council affairs should be a thing of the past. The Local Government Board should be done away with, as it violates that same principle of devolution”.

Community Water Alliance programmes manager Hardlife Mudzingwa said voters must be critical in their thinking of whether their vote would guarantee them water.

He said the vote should be able to abolish Statutory Instrument 164 of 1913 used by local authorities to disconnect water supply to defaulting residents.

“Our votes increase the budget on water from the current 2,5 percent to at least 10 percent. Our votes must also place responsible leaders in positions of authority, those who feel obligated to respect, protect and fulfil the human right to water. The July 30, 2018 vote should do away with cholera and typhoid,” Mudzingwa said.

He also emphasised the need to ensure that wetlands are protected and that there is proper management of catchments to avoid water scarcity caused by environmental degradation.

Outgoing Harare mayor and interim Zimbabwe Local Government Association president Bernard Manyenyeni said the issue of introducing a vehicle licensing regime administered by local authorities should be considered by the new councillors with regard to road maintenance and repairs.

He said since the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) took over administration of vehicle licensing they have not been disbursing what local authorities require for road repairs.

“In the new administration, I think it would be prudent that councils consider setting up their own vehicle licensing authority so that whatever is collected can be channelled for what it was intended for. Most councils only get a fraction of what is required for basic maintenance of roads. Our roads are untrafficable because we have been neglected by Zinara for too long,” Manyenyeni said.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said people should vote for candidates with a clear healthcare plan that can guarantee that medical professions are paid on time, well and medicines are stocked in advance.