BULAWAYO – Gweru residents have taken aim at the city fathers who they accuse of running down the local authority through the implementation of poor policies and decision-making.
This, they said was as a result of the calibre of the councillors the local authority has.
Gweru Residence Forum (GRF) director Charles Mazorodze had no kind words for the councillors whom he went to an extent of describing as uneducated.
“We are generally failing to have an honest and accountable councillorship,” Mazorodze told the Southern News.
“Most Gweru councillors are not working for the betterment of the lives of the residence. You can see by the kind of policies that they make. The policy-making framework is quite dubious. They take residents for granted.”
The GRF boss said he was convinced that the level education among the local authority policy makers was low.
“As for the calibre of councillors that we have there is difficulty in comprehending council or policy issues.
“Most of them, their educational levels are quite low. I recall the current finance chairperson of Gweru, she could not even read the budget.
“She couldn’t present the budget to Gweru residents; it ended up being presented by the director of finance,” he said.
Mazorodze added: “This shows the lack of skills and capacity within the councillors to comprehend policy issues. Given such a scenario it means the finance chairperson does not know what the budget entails.
“She can’t understand what the budget is all about yet she is purporting to be representing the people.”
He said it was unfortunate that education was not one of the tenets of choosing councillors.
As if that is not enough, Mazorodze also accused council management of also behaving in the same manner like the councillors.
“The current crop of council management and councillors that we have they basically don’t take residents issues serious, there is serious poor planning.
“They don’t do their things according to laid out rules but it’s just a haphazard kind of system,” he said adding that he was convinced that Gweru could rank as one of the worst poorly managed cities in the country.
“For example if you look at even their recruitment, go to city parking there is chaos. Harare is big but it is actually better than Gweru because you take political party activists and say go and be there without proper training, without even a system in place. In fact in Gweru there are no systems, there are no governance and administrative systems,” he said.
Gweru mayor Charles Chikozho turned the heat on Mazorodze saying he was the one who was uneducated.
It is a matter of someone trying to take the job of a councillor,” Chikozho told Southern News.
“When we made a strategic planning meeting we invited all the stakeholders, the residents included which means all the policies that we come up with are informed by the stakeholders.
“We believe in addressing issues through engagement and if the residents have a problem they should come forward we engage.”
Chikozho further accused Mazorodze of being a newcomer who was misguided on how the local authority acts.
He said it was unfortunate that he could only see the negatives yet council was lately engaged in a massive project where the city’s roads are being rehabilitated.
“I am saying let’s be realistic, let’s put facts as they are when dealing with issues of service delivery rather than fuelling unnecessary tension,” he said adding that residents must not be blind to the efforts of the city in a tough economic environment.