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Motion: Restoration of Democratic Local Government
Hansard, Parliament of Zimbabwe
February 08, 2006

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MRS STEVENSON: I move the motion standing in my name: that this House, alarmed by the collapse of infrastructure and services in our cities and towns; further alarmed by the outbreak of cholera in our capital city in December; dismayed by the removal of elected councils and their replacement by appointed commissions which have manifestly failed to improve the running of our cities; demands that the Minister of Local Government and Urban Development immediately cease interfering with elected councils and take immediate steps to restore democratic local government.


MRS STEVENSON: My motion is on the collapse of our cities and towns and the resultant difficulties which the residents of our cities and towns are currently facing in Zimbabwe. I am quite sure that on both sides of the House we are alarmed at how seriously our towns and cities have gone down, particularly in the last eighteen months and over the last several years there has been a trend.

I will just recap some of the evidence of this collapse of both the infrastructure and services. If you walk around Harare, Bulawayo and other towns, the pavements, particularly in the central business area, they are a danger. If you walk between here and First Street there are holes in the pavements. If you do not watch where you are going you can actually disappear in one of these holes. You can possibly break your leg. The holes are very serious. I am quite sure that the City of Harare has been sued by several pedestrians who have injured themselves because of the poor state of our pavements.

Then we have our streetlights, the streetlights either do not work or they are broken. The poles have fallen down even in the roads, they are a disaster.

The drains are blocked. We have sewerage bursts around the place particularly in Chitungwiza but about the sewerage, I will come to it later on. There has been a problem in Chitungwiza long before the MDC came along. Raw sewage is pouring out of the pipes and it is a very serious danger to the health of all residents. If one person becomes ill with a communicable disease like cholera or something, it can affect the whole city. It is a danger.

Water bursts affect the quantity of water that the city has available. Water bursts cause damages everywhere. I have had a burst water pipe just outside my house for the last two years. I have reported it over and over again to the Harare City Council. I even reported it to the Commission when they appeared before our Portfolio Committee and they assured me that that water burst would be resolved within one week. I reported in October and we are now in February after two years of flowing water.

Bridges are falling down. There was a report of a bridge that had become a danger in Glen Norah. Children cannot go to school across that bridge. They have to go a long way round to get to school and that is a serious problem.

Traffic lights are quite a great danger because if the traffic light is not working or working one way you may have serious motor accidents. Indeed the Traffic Safety Board in December called for legislation to force the local authorities to keep the traffic lights working. That is how serious the problem is.

We have potholes which the motorists and drivers of the commuter omnibuses are faced with. The potholes are sometimes repaired but the repairs do not last. Potholes cause damage to your car and they also cause serious accidents. Three weeks ago, there is a young man who is a student at Harare International School whose family are Mozambican diplomats in Zimbabwe who was driving along the Borrowdale road and hit a pothole and had such a serious accident. His friend and passenger was killed on the spot by hitting this pothole. He himself has been in a coma for nearly three weeks now. That is what happens when you do not maintain your infrastructure.

I am not even going into the general dilapidation of the buildings belonging to our cities and towns. In district offices things do not work properly, the paint is falling off the buildings of the City Councils and towns. The collapse of infrastructure is not only in Harare but all cities.

I come to the services. There is lack of provision of services. We have all noticed most the lack of refuse collection. I was driving along Fourth Street yesterday, right there at the corner of the Catholic Cathedral there is a huge pile of garbage, just by the Cathedral. It is not only visible but it is a danger to the city. In my own constituency there is rubbish all over. In Hatcliffe there is a road into the cooperative where you have to make a huge detour around the huge pile of garbage. Nobody comes to remove the garbage. The same thing happens near the Old Mutual headquarters which is near where I live. A lorry comes and simply dumps garbage. When I call the Harare City Council they say they do not have transport. Meanwhile people are breaking the city by-laws. We are in danger, we are going to have rats all over. They carry fleas which can carry bubonic plaque. We will have all those diseases if we are not careful.

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