IT is a fact that the rain season is now upon us. But the sad reality is that we still have people living in makeshift tents exactly seven months after Cyclone Idai struck and left a trail of destruction especially in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
We have learnt with concern that the bureaucratic system prevailing in administration has delayed the construction of houses meant for survivors of Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani by Econet as the telecommunications firm is yet to formally receive the land, as well as necessary waiver on compliance issues.
As we brood over this sad reality we are still mindful of the fact that the nation recently awoke to sad news that goodies meant for survivors of Cyclone Idai were rotting as papers moved from office to office to enable distribution to beneficiaries.
With this in mind, it is evident that the prevailing bureaucratic system in administration militates against effective development in different communities around the country.
Now that we have learnt our lessons, it is only prudent that measures are put in place to ensure that we do not experience a repeat of the same in future.
Not so long ago, the highest office in the land demanded an immediate end to bureaucracy by companies and individuals against foreign investors as the country witnesses unprecedented investor interest in the mining sector and associated value chains.
Addressing delegates at the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ) conference at Elephant Hills Hotel and Resort in Victoria Falls recently, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said many foreign investors go back home disappointed by red tape in Government and other entities.
“I am also informed that many investors go back home disappointed, after being moved from office to office, people to people; that should stop.
“We are determined to progressively eliminate bottlenecks, red tape and all forms of corruption within Government bureaucracy,” he said.
In the same vein, all forms of red tape and bottlenecks in administration and service delivery must be eliminated in order to facilitate efficient execution of developmental initiatives, more so in cases of disaster response.
No doubt, excessive bureaucracy or adherence to official rules and formalities, slow decision-making all make it difficult to have timely execution of developmental projects, worse still in a fast-paced business environment that is now prevailing the world over.
Experiences in Chimanimani and Chipinge after Cyclone Idai have taught us that bureaucratic rules and regulations do not really help much particularly when unexpected situations crop up.
For example, according to the existing laws in the country, before construction work of this nature can begin, there is need for formal transfer of land from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and then to the developer through the local authority.
Now to imagine that a verbal acknowledgement of the transfer of land was done at a gathering held seven months after the tropical cyclone struck is not only shocking but defies logic.
As if that was enough, there is also need for Government waiver on certain compliance regulatory statues such as the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) 2 percent levy on Econet as the land developer.
Once again, to imagine that this simple procedure was finally done seven months after the catastrophic Cyclone Idai struck is also shocking.
We sincerely hope and urge the powers-that-be to pickup important lessons from the experiences we have gone through in Chimanimani and ensure that thus does not recur in case we are faced with another natural disaster in future.