Mbare breathes fire on corruption and political polarisation
Mbare residents said corruption within the local government and the high level of political polarization in the community is the major hindrance towards the development of their constituency.
Speaking at a Constituency Indaba facilitated by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in Mbare at Mai Musodzi Hall on the 24th of September 2019, Mbare residents lamented that a lot of revenue supposed to develop Mbare is lost through corruption. They reiterated that the case of Mbare is a microcosm of macrocosm as corruption has also led to the underdevelopment of Zimbabwe at large.
Despite the residents of Mbare paying rates to the local authority, poor service delivery to residents is a cause for concern where refuse collection is not regularly done. Skip bins are overflowing with litter messing the environment thus denying the Mbare community their right to a clean environment provided for in Section 73 of the Zimbabwean Constitution. As if that is not enough, the community is also deprived of clean and potable water which again is in contravention of Section 77 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which grants every citizen right to clean, safe and potable water.
One resident lamented the dilapidated status of Mbare Musika terminus despite huge sums of revenue collected from there on a daily basis. The terminus doesn’t have structures to shelter travelers waiting for transport and also there is no information to guide especially those new to the area. “Public transport operators pay money each time they use the terminus and if we are to calculate the number of buses that use the terminus per day, there is a lot of revenue collected, funds which are supposed to develop the terminus but there are no sheds for passengers, where is the money going? Who is benefitting from that money? charged one resident.
Furthermore, residents bemoaned lack of a transparent market revenue collection mechanism as payments are said to be made to individuals instead of council offices as unidentified individuals move around requesting for monthly rates for the market stalls and if one questions them on who they are, one’s market stall is forcefully taken away by the unidentified personalities. This is hindering development in Mbare as the funds are used by individuals for personal interests rather than by the Council towards community development. Mbare community questioned where these people derive their authority from because even if they are reported to the police, no course of action is taken against these perpetrators. “Who is giving these people the authority to throw away people from their market stalls? If you report them to the police, you will meet them in the streets, showing they are backed-up by a powerful someone who is within the Council or government structures”, reported residents.
It was also highlighted that market stalls are distributed along political lines which see those without political affiliations getting nothing. He went on further to say that when policy makers call for a meeting, some residents do not attend on the basis that the Councilor or Member of Parliament does not belong to their political party. He urged fellow residents to switch off from the election mode and set aside their political differences and have unity of purpose for the betterment of the entire community.
The community also complained that there are some hidden political agendas behind the closure of Mupedzanhamo Market whenever there is burial of a declared national hero. They said Mupedzanhamo is the backbone of Mbare community productivity. “We are stopped from going to work without our consent on each time a hero is being laid to rest. Our spot of productivity in Mbare, Mupedzanhamo market, and this disturbs the flow of household income as most households live from hand to mouth and skipping one day from trading means the households will not have a meal.
Public properties including council halls, bars and buildings are being operated by people from outside Mbare and are not benefiting the people of Mbare as they are supposed to. The beerhalls are alleged to be leased to political tycoons from outside Mbare yet according to by-laws they are not supposed to be leased to individuals within the Mbare community to enhance local content development. Council officers are allegedly receiving bribes in order to lease these structures to outsiders, even most of the employees in these beerhalls are not from Mbare. “From their name, public houses it is self-explanatory that they are owned by the public hence they are supposed to plough back to the public” one resident said. He further said, some of the properties are being run by council workers who are not paying rates and rentals to the council despite the profits they make.