Report by Bayethe Mhlanga
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says expectation thrust on the shoulders of MDC run councils is beyond their capacity to deliver due to economic and political hurdles.
He, however, said he will not hesitate to wield the axe on corrupt MDC councillors and legislators who abuse office.
Speaking to members of the media in Bulawayo on Tuesday amid heightened spotlight on service delivery failure, Chamisa said MDC run councils are in charge of councils but without charge.
“The biggest challenge we have in the cities is that we are in charge of the cities but do not control the cities, in most cases ZANU PF is actually controlling the cities through bureaucracy, local government that issues directives from time to time. They are also controlling the cities through legislation as procurement in local authorities is done through the Office of the President in Cabinet. Where is transparency and devolution in all this when everything is done at the office of the President which is Mnangagwa’s office,” Chamisa.
MDC is in charge but with no charge. How do you budget as a council on your own when everything has to be approved by the ministry of local government, local authorities don’t have borrowing powers they have to seek permission by the local government. They can’t fire their own people, they have to be authorized by the government local body which is authorized by the minister. So local authorities are shackled by the politics of ZANU PF,” he said.
Chamisa added that MDC run councils are expected to deliver beyond their capacity.
“Look at water, everyone will be saying MDC please give us water whilst the president according to the law he owns all water sources and local authorities don’t generate water but distribute water which is supposed to be generated by ZINWA so you can’t blame a hosepipe for not delivering water to the garden. There has been an expectation on the MDC beyond our capacity to deliver on account on historical issues, legal issues that have to be resolved when the economic environment is not conducive for anyone,” he said.
Chamisa added that his power will not hesitate to fire councilors, Mayors and Members of Parliament who abuse office.
“Our duty is to make sure that we become centres of excellence and we will hold accountable everyone who is abusing power. Integrity is our highest call and we expect it on all our leaders, who ever will be found wanting, we won’t hesitate to fire them. We are MDC, we are not ZANU PF where corruption is celebrated, and we can’t be the same thing that we want to remove,” he said.
“If we look at councilors and members of Parliament there is a significant change in lifestyle when one goes into office but we will correct that, we are for development and for serving the people than self-benefit, MDC is not an employment agency,” he added.