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Local government is not an extension of central government

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2006 by Mandebvu

No sane Zimbabwean can be surprised by reports that municipal police looted food intended for victims of Murambatsvina. After all they are only following their masters’ example. Given the fact that Town House is occupied by an illegal clique of thieves, it is to be expected that a culture of thievery should establish itself all the way through the Municipality. Two things however stand out. One, what on earth was an aid agency giving food or anything else to the very perpetrators of the crime against humanity that was Murambatsvina? How naive and idiotic is that? One can just imagine some ignorant expatriate murungu saying “I have a good idea, let’s put the nazis in charge of aid to the Jews”. Who is more culpable, the perpetrators of monstrous crimes or the collaborators who help prop them up? At least we know that the thugs are evil but when supposed humanitarian agencies indulge in ignorant actions (usually saying “well we must help the people” and “we don’t get involved in politics”), it becomes hard to tell the difference. Two, the suspension of the whistle blowers, while no surprise, is meant to deter other honest and professional municipal employees from coming forward. I would suggest that honest municipal employees use alternative routes to report such cases and go directly to the media or to CHRA who will be only to happy to expose the culture of theft and incompetence that is the main if not only achievement of Makwavarara and her cronies.

Any legitimately-elected Council is going to have a Herculean job shovelling all the manure out the stables when they move into Town House. Given the fact that the rot permeates every pore of the diseased carcass that is zanu-pf’s administration and the lengths to which they will go to prevent exposure let alone submit to judgement, it will require men and women of impeccable credibility and determination to get the job done. Given that sooner or later there will be municipal elections in the city despite the machinations of Chombo and that zanu-pf has as much chance of winning Harare as Mugabe has of winning the Nobel peace prize, let us hope that the MDC will give a little more thought to the selection of council candidates next time around, unlike 2002 when many were political opportunists, future sell-outs or frankly just incapable of running a bank account, let alone supervising a modern city.

Local government is not an extension of central government despite what Chombo would like to believe. It is the closest most citizens ever come to government and it is the institution that most affects our daily lives. We require councillors with capability, integrity, vision, fortitude and commitment, not arbitrary party flunkeys looking for an easy path to parliament and ‘real’ power. We want and deserve councillors who are ‘of the people’, who have a proven track record of community service that goes beyond political rhetoric and grandstanding.