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Local government media content update
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
April 17, 2012

Easihold wants case referred for arbitration

Easihold Private Limited, a South Africa registered parking management firm, filed at the High Court seeking referral of their dispute with Harare City Council for arbitration. The municipality and Easihold entered into a joint venture parking business in 2009 but on January 12 this year, Council terminated the agreement. Pending determination by an arbitrator, Easihold is also seeking another order interdicting council from terminating the joint venture. Easihold argues that it has heavily invested in the Easipark deal and that cancelling the agreement in such a short space of time was highly prejudicial to the company. Easihold stated in the application that the cancellation publicity had an effect of tarnishing the image and reputation of the company as a parking management company.

City probe report kept under wraps

Kwekwe - The four member committee dispatched by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo four months ago to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse of council property at the local authority, has not had its report made public, it has emerged. The Kwekwe Residents'and Ratepayers' Development Association (KRRDA), which played a leading role in inviting Chombo to send the probe team, is not amused and is calling on Chombo to release the report. Secretary for Local Government Killian Mupingo told Newsday yesterday the report would be made public once the committee had presented its findings to Chombo. Local Government Deputy Minister Sesil Zvidzai, who has openly clashed with his boss, said he suspected Chombo could be too embarrassed to release the report because there may be nothing to report on. The four member committee was sent in November to investigate allegations of corruption against management and the MDC-T dominated council, including details surrounding the dismissal of city treasurer Albert Zingwe and the appointment of an audit manager Moriss Mutema as the acting treasurer.

Planned mass bus system riles kombi operators

Commuter Omnibus operators in Harare and the Zanu PF Youth League are not happy with moves by Harare City Council to engage Ashok Leyland of India to provide buses to service commuters in the capital. They argue the move will elbow out small businesses operating under difficult conditions. But, ordinary citizens feel the move is welcome as they are tired of abuse at the hands of commuter bus operators and their crews. A transport operator, Mr Innocent Hamandishe, who is also Zanu PF Youth league secretary for indigenization and economic empowerment said there were 5000 kombis in Harare and over 10 000 people risked losing jobs if the deal was proved. Mr Nyasha Chikuni of Glen said a new firm in the transport industry will force kombi operators to lower their prices.

Council moves to shut down lodges, brothels


Harare City Council is worried with the number of houses that have been turned into offices, lodges and brothels and will soon launch investigations with a view to shutting them down. This follows complains of massive accommodation shortage in the capital leading to landlords raising rentals. Many houses around the city centre, meant for residential purposes, in suburbs like Milton Park, Belgravia and Avondale, have been converted into offices and other facilities while unlicensed creches have mushroomed in high-density areas. Mayor Muchadei Masunda said the chaos was a result of the inherited mess from previous councils.

Chombo is a cruel man: Zvidzai
The Zimbabwe Mail

Bulawayo - Deputy Minister of Local Government Sesel Zvidzai who is also an MDC-T member blasted Minister Chombo saying he is a "cruel man" abusing the Urban Council Act by continuing to fire and suspend Mayors countrywide. Zvidzai added: "The Urban Councils Act should actually be repealed as it is giving too much power to Chombo". Chombo has been crossing swords with the former opposition party since his Zanu PF party began losing control of urban councils to the MDC. Prime Minister Tsvangirai recently said Chombo was attempting to destroy the MDC by dismissing elected councilors ahead of watershed polls to be held most likely next year. Chombo says the reason why he is dismissing MDC councilors and mayors is because most of them are corrupt.

Harare still to contain typhoid
The Standard

Cases of typhoid are still being reported in Harare's high-density suburbs everyday since the outbreak of the disease last year. Head of Harare's two infectious disease hospitals, Beatrice and Wilkins, Clemence Duri said most of the cases were emanating from Dzvivarasekwa and Kuwadzana high-density suburbs, areas which always experience frequent water cuts. More than 4000 cases of Typhoid have been recorded in Harare since October last year while nearly 1000 people have been treated for dysentery in the past 2 months. Duri said the Harare city council has engaged kombi conductors and a local mobile operator to help in the campaign against the spread of Typhoid among residents. Poor waste management continues in Harare despite the fact that the local authority was recently fined US$5000 by Environmental Management Agency for the crime.

Training ground blues for deMbare
Zimbabwe Independent

Champions Dynamos have plunged into a training ground crisis ahead of their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season opener against Hardbody after the Harare City Council limited the use of Rufaro Stadium where they prefer to train. Fifa, who funded the artificial turf at the stadium, advised Zifa that the facility be used only once a week after noting the turf was suffering damage due to over-use.

Harare councillors clash with Mayor Masunda
The Herald

Harare City Councillors clashed with Mayor Muchadei Masunda over his handling of performance based contracts for the city directors amid reports that the mayor was protecting some officials whose contracts of employment expired. Councillors do not want to renew contracts of some of the directors citing poor performance. However, some of the directors claim the councilors want to employ MDC-T sympathizers. They allege that some of the directors are drawing salaries and benefits without authority from the city because they do not have binding employment contracts. The city fathers also want to know the amounts that each director takes home every month arguing they were the employers. But Mr Masunda is not happy with some officials who leaked with information relating to the employment contracts of the senior functionaries.

Tough in Africa

The African football jungle proved too much for FC Platinum and Hwange to handle at the weekend as both teams crashed out of the Caf Champions League and Confederations cup respectively. Dynamos, said only 23 469 people paid their way into the stadium and a gross of $111 773 was realized from their Caf Champions League against Liga Muculmana of Mozambique. After all expenses in which the Harare city council claimed the biggest chunk of 20%, the home team went home with only $52 936. The City Council were the biggest beneficiary of the big crowd as they claimed their 20% of the gross income for the usage of the stadium, an amount which totaled $22 354, 60.

Zimbabwe Local Govt Minister under fire for suspending Gwanda Mayor
Voice of America

Residents in the small town of Gwanda, the capital of Matebeleland South province, also came to the defense of ousted Mayor Lionel De Necker, describing him as a hard working public servant who cared less about politics, but more about service delivery. The MDC formation launched a broadside Friday at Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo for suspending its Gwanda mayor. Minister Chombo accused De Necker of defying his orders. Over the years, Chombo, a Zanu PF official, has targeted MDC municipalities, suspending councillors in a crusade widely viewed as politically motivated. Gwanda resident, Jaston Mazhale told VOA that De Necker served the town well, adding his removal was regrettable.

Municipality faces collapse
The Herald

Kariba municipality is reportedly on the brink of collapse following allegations of looting of council resources by management. The MDC-T run council owes creditors over US$3 million. Of the said amount, council owes Zesa US$1 million in an unpaid electricity bill. Council workers have gone for three months without pay, compromising service delivery. Mr Makunde, the Town clerk attributed the woes Kariba is facing to failure by residents to pay rates. But workers who recently went on a six-day industrial action demanding payment of outstanding salaries blame alleged poor management and corruption for the financial problems. Council allegedly approved the purchase of vehicles without going to tender. Council also bought a minibus for councillors while 'employees are going to work in a lorry'. Councillors were reportedly granted three-month advance allowances at a time workers have gone for months without being paid.

60% of Harare residents drink unsafe water

Sixty percent of Harare residents have no access to safe drinking water, according to Mayor Muchadei Masunda. In a report detailing the water situation in the capital, Masunda also added that raw sewerage is sometimes offloaded into Harare's water sources due to crumbling infrastructure. "Only 30% have access to safe water for between 3 and 5 days per week. 20% have access to between one and two days per week; 10% rely on boreholes and unprotected wells; 40% of the population lacks adequate sanitation," said Masunda. The mayor said US$15 million is required to rehabilitate the Prince Edward Water treatment plant; US$17 million for Morton Jaffray plant; US$15 million for the development and installation of a land information management system and a further US$20 million to upgrade and capacitate the sewerage treatment plants.

Chombo taken to court

Three suspended Chinhoyi councillors, who include Mayor Claudius Nyamhondoro and his deputy Willy Nyambi, have taken Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to court demanding their immediate reinstatement to their previous positions. The trio who also include Ward 6 councillor Owen Charuza were suspended between late last year and early this year on allegations of misconduct. But their lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara in an urgent High Court chamber application demanded the lifting of the suspension since the 45-day deadline had lapsed without any disciplinary hearings being conducted against his clients. Chombo failed to hold a legitimate hearing or determine the guilt of any of the applicants in this matter within the statutory limit of 45 days. "As it stands, the applicants are on an indefinite suspension which is illegal and improper. It is just and equitable that the costs in this matter be awarded to the applicants due to the fact that this application has been necessitated by the respondent's illegal conduct," Zhuwarara added.

Zvidzai too powerless to stop boss Chombo's axe

The hullabaloo over Ignatius Chombo's alleged purge of former opposition party leaders running local authorities is a matter that government and the legislature appear not to take as seriously as is apparently needful. The outcry is about the Local Government Minister allegedly abusing the Urban Councils Act, which gives the Minister sweeping powers to unilaterally remove from office elected officials without anyone questioning his actions, or the rationale behind them, and without providing his victims a chance to defend themselves. All Zvidzai can do is to 'declare null and void his boss's decisions, but at the end of the day, it is Chombo's word that carries the day. He has been to almost all local authorities suspending and dismissing officials, while Zvidzai's voice, full of sound and fury, echoed in his wake-continue to signifying nothing.

Harare City Council to generate electricity from waste

The Harare City Council is negotiating with a local gas company for a joint venture to generate electricity from waste at the Firle and Crowborough sewage works. The council's Business Committee says in a report made available that negotiations for the 50:50 joint venture between council and Harare gas are to be concluded. The power produced is expected to prevent pollution and reduce dependency on Zesa. The council has since registered the Harare Waste to Energy Company to spearhead the project. The company will have two directors each from the two joint-venture partners. A total of US$3.0 million would be required to acquire generators for the project which would take 18 months to complete. Meanwhile, the Harare City Council is also negotiating another joint venture with Infinite Energy Zimbabwe to extract biogas from the Golden Quarry and Pomona land fills a few kilometers north of the capital.

Ensure Harare gets proper, efficient public transport system
The Herald

So far two companies have expressed interest in providing this system in partnership with the Harare City Council. The council, in such a deal, has to grant a monopoly to the service provider, has to provide land for terminuses and workshops, has to lay out bus stops and agree to the basic route structure. What worries us is that there is already talk of subsidies from central government, as if the Treasury is ever going to have enough money to throw away on urban people, and that the council is talking over specific schemes instead of seeking tenders, or at least seeking information from similar sized cities on what fare formulas could look like.

No water in Harare suburbs

Fears of cholera and typhoid re-ignited on Thursday after many Harare residents went for a whole day without a fresh water supply to their houses. Eastlea, Highlands, Greendale, Derbyshire, Budiriro, Glen-view, Highfield, Borrowdale, Shortson, Msasa Park were seen without water supply to their taps. Harare this year became the talk of the world after the city's water was found by a group of doctors to be contaminated with faeces. The city council refuted the findings. Efforts to obtain a comment from the Harare city council on the water supply failure was fruitless as the phone kept ringing without being answered.

Villagers drag Chombo to court

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo was dragged to the Bulawayo High Court by Matobo villagers for appointing five Zanu PF activists as special interest councillors to their local authority. The six villagers are challenging the appointments, which they describe as illegal. Chombo appointed five members from his party who lost parliamentary and council elections in 2008, as Matobo special interest councillors. The villagers in their urgent application filed on Wednesday cited Chombo, the chairperson of the Matobo rural district council, the councils chief executive officer and the local authority as first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively.

Council rapped over housing

Harare residents accused council of delaying implementation of housing projects launched last year. Some of the projects include a CABS project to construct more than 3 000 housing units and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations housing to benefit hundreds of Dzivarasekwa residents. Combined Harare Residents' Association Chairman Simbarashe Moyo claimed delays were caused by corruption. Harare has an estimated half a million people on the housing waiting list while the national housing backlog stands at around 1.25 million. Residents accused councillors and senior managers of not doing enough to address the issue. Councillors recently attributed invasions by a shadowy Zanu PF group of open spaces for failure by management to act fast on outstanding projects.

Creches under scrutiny
The Standard

Harare city council has expressed concern over the proliferation of creches, the majority of which do not meet the minimum hygienic standards recommended by the local authority. There are fears that poor hygienic conditions would expose the children to communicable diseases, especially now that Harare is experiencing frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as Typhoid, dysentery and cholera. A council discussion on conditions of creches in Harare sparked by the rising number of applications for change of use of residential houses to creches. Councillor Urayayi Mangwiro said people were taking advantage of the gap left by the few early learning institutions offered by government. Mangwiro said very few schools were offering Zero Grade classes, leaving parents with no option but to look for alternative institutions for their children.

Chombo in attempt to subvert Urban Council Act reforms

Because of Local Government Minister Dr. Ignatius Chombo's abuse of the Urban Councils Act, parliament has sought to amend it, mostly to reduce the Minister's ability to take unilateral decisions as Chombo has been abusing this power to reverse the losses encountered by his party (Zanu PF) in local government elections. To date, at least 30 councillors have been either dismissed or suspended by the Minister, but now that the demand for change is gaining traction in Parliament, ZANU PF is arguing that MDC-T is smuggling bills which are not supposed to be discussed in parliament, according to the Combined Harare Residents' Association, Chra. CHRA and other civil society organization that have an inalienable interest in local government are concerned especially by the power of the Minister to suspend councilors, the functions of the local government board, appointment of commissions, the ceremonial status of Mayors, council revenue and audits, and non-recognition of Residents Associations.

Typhoid far from being contained
The Sunday Mail

The number of patients seeking treatment for typhoid increased amid indications that the water-borne disease is yet to be contained. The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare intensified its awareness programmes with a view to curbing the spread of the disease. More than 4500 typhoid cases have been recorded across the country since the outbreak last October. Reports show that the disease has spread to Mashonaland West and Central as well as Norton. Dr Manangazira said the country would not be susceptible to disease outbreaks of such a primitive nature if local authorities worked hard to provide clean water and proper sanitation.

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