THE City of Harare and central Government appear headed for collision course as declarations from the two bodies show discord.
Last month, the Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province Mr Tafadzwa Muguti said local authorities were a lower tier of central Government and should therefore take instructions from the State.
And last week, the City of Harare seemed to be hitting back at Mr Muguti’s statements as the municipality complained of lack of space to operate autonomously because it is issued with several directives from central Government.
“Your Worship, we have very little space to de-couple Harare from both Country and the Government. We don’t have enough space to run Council on our own mandate. Centre-Local remains one entity with the ‘Centre’ more in charge.
“In a normal set up the Ministry responsible would be an enabler, a facilitator, and a catalyst for the good things a council seeks to do. This has not been the case as council has been operating with many directives which are not doing the city any good,” said the chairperson of the council Finance and Economic Development Committee Councillor Costa Mande.
Cllr Mande made the remarks while presenting the 2023 City of Harare budget.
But Mr Muguti has blasted local authorities for what they call “Government interference” whenever they are given directives to carry out.
Speaking at the Anti-Sanctions Day commemorations held at the United States Embassy in Westgate on October 25, Mr Muguti said those who do not want to take instructions from central Government should hang their boots.
“There is what is called central Government, then provincial Government, then there is what is called local government, it’s the same Government. So to those who do not what to be told what to do by His Excellency (President Mnangagwa), get out of politics and go somewhere else so that we can have people who want to take instructions,” he said.
Mr Muguti said councils will continue getting directives from the central Government.
“We will continue to tell councils what to do because we are the ruling Government. That’s our job. We shall continue having policies that bring development. What sort of person doesn’t want development?” he said to cheers by people gathered at the event who shouted Harare Mayor Councillor Jacob Mafume’s name and asked him to leave office.
Last week, Mr Muguti said municipalities in Harare Metropolitan Province should provide material and human resources to undertake the 45-day Presidential clean-up ordered by President Mnangagwa to clean up Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Epworth.
The clean-up began on Thursday last week and ends on December 15, 2022. The clean-up also targets who are illegally occupying or engaging in businesses on wetlands, sand poachers and brick moulders.
In an interview on Monday this week ZiFM radio station, Mr Muguti said Ruwa, Chitungwiza and Epworth municipalities were cooperating while in Harare there is the problem of political grandstanding by those running council affairs.
He, however, said he is in constant touch with Cllr Mafume and the top management at Town House to implement programmes for the benefit of Harare as the country’s capital city.