ON Tuesday, Mutare City Council had a State of the City of Address, in a milestone achievement that is meant to enhance accountability as well as appraise residents and ratepayers on activities happening at the Civic Centre.
The thrust of the address which will be conducted yearly is to increase stakeholder engagement and inform citizens on the state of affairs at the local authority.
Mayor, Councillor Blessing Tandi should be commended for opening such a forum that will enable ratepayers to have an insight of what is happening with their rates as well as get an opportunity to scrutinise the city’s performance in terms of service delivery and offer suggestions on areas that need improvement.
His address was full of life and it gave residents the belief that the eastern border city can really become the Jewel of the East.
It is one thing to make promises and another to deliver.
What the city fathers at the Civic Centre should know is that the pronouncements they made on Tuesday were clearly heard by all and sundry.
Only time will tell if these promises will be fulfilled.
The city is facing a myriad of challenges that need to be tackled head on. Corruption has greatly affected service delivery.
The fact that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is constantly knocking on the doors at the Civic Centre is clear testimony that all is no well.
Cllr Tandi and his colleagues must know and understand that improvements in service delivery can only be achieved if they sweep graft and other professional ills from their corridors.
What is worrying is that senior managers and other city fathers are playing dirty and bold measures have to be instituted to weed out corruption.
Council must first deal with the basics.
There is need to improve the road network, avail potable water to every household, collect garbage as well as maintain a working sewerage system.
The rainy season is fast approaching and with the slow pace that the local authority is rehabilitating the damaged roads and clearing storm drains, the city is likely to be caught off-guard.
Roads in residential areas are in a deplorable state and they need to be worked on with urgency.
The provision of water is a basic human right.
At the moment, the local authority is trampling on the rights of residents in Dangamvura who are struggling to access the precious liquid.
The water question is a big one in this suburb and for over a decade now residents have to endure serious rationing which has resulted in some sourcing it from unprotected open sources.
Since last year, the local authority has been giving endless timelines regarding the completion of the water pipeline that is meant to solve this crisis.
The timeliness are still to be met and residents cannot continue being taken up the garden path.
The city’s sewerage system has literally collapsed as evidenced by numerous pipe bursts that have resulted in raw affluent flowing into Sakubva River and other tributaries, polluting them in the process.
Although the Environmental Management Agency has fined council and taken it to court over the continued pollution of Sakubva River, no meaningful remedies have been taken to rectify the situation.
Villagers in the downstream Dora community who used to fetch water from the river are a frustrated lot because of this pollution.
Refuse collection in the city is erratic and this has resulted in heaps forming everywhere.
Council always blames fuel shortages and a run-down refuse collection fleet.
It is the duty of the city fathers to allocate resources diligently and ensure the purchase of refuse trucks and not to prioritise the hosting of expensive meetings and retreats in resort areas.
Cllr Tandi must put his house in order and ensure that residents access the basics and this is only achievable if council values service delivery first.
Mutare residents deserve better service delivery.