I don’t know about you, but when I think about the water that isn’t in my tap more often than it is, the potholes which have become craters that stretch across the width of our roads, and the fact that rubbish is collected sporadically, not weekly or on schedule, I wouldn’t rate Harare’s services Average. But in a recent performance review of the City of Harare, the Combined Harare Residents Association scored the City a C, on a scale of A-F.
But a C sounds high, when the report card breaks down as follows:
- Water: “The Harare City council failed to efficiently and effectively provide water to the bulk of Harare’s suburbs in 2012.”
- Infrastructure: “Not much has been done to deal with the state of our roads despite efforts being made to deal with the issue of potholes mainly in the Central Business District.”
- Housing: “The housing backlog of council remains pregnant with at least one million people waiting to be allocated land.”
- Health: “Health delivery has been generally good mainly due to the affordability of the services at community level.”
- Refuse collection: “Refuse collection has general been good considering that council has been able to procure more refuse collection trucks.”
- Budget formulation: “The budget formulation process remains as one that is shallow and lacks credibility.”
- Financial management: “How finances are run in council remains a secret of the technocrats.”
- Human resources: “The 2011 human resource audit reveals that there are more than 300 ghost workers on the council’s payroll but nothing has been done.”
So. Fail, do not much, keep a backlog, delivery a few things well enough, manage your money secretively and keep ghost workers on the payroll, and you get a C? Low standards overstate Harare City performance? Have we been so traumatized by years of F*-grade service delivery, that we’ll be so grateful for sub-par performance we’ll still call it average?