19 February 2013

Zimbabwe: 'Certificate of Incompetence' for Mayor

The man who staged a lone demonstration against Harare city's neglect of potholes last week, Mr McNorman Chitongo, yesterday met Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda at Town House and presented him with a "certificate of incompetence".

Mr Masunda invited Mr Chitongo (27) for a discussion about his concerns over a cup of tea at his offices following wide publicity of his protest.

Mr Chitongo went to Town House wearing black which he said was a sign of mourning the "death" of the city.

He also brought a damaged wheel of his Volvo S40 that he said was involved in an accident after it fell into the trench along Sam Nujoma extension over which he held the demonstration.

The "certificate of incompetence" indicated that Mr Masunda failed residents by "creating and endorsing pothole-riddled roads, piled up garbage, contaminated water, overflowing sewage, corruption and gross citizen abuse by harassing vendors".

"I appreciate your concern as a resident of Harare," Mr Masunda said. "From now on, I want you to be an integral part of our team and invite you to attend our full council meetings on Thursday."

Mr Masunda gave Mr Chitongo reassurances that the council's main goal was service delivery.

"I want Harare to be a better city when I leave the office," he said. "If you are going to be the next mayor, I want you to find everything in good order."

Mr Chitongo said he had reported about the trench after being involved in the accident, but it had taken more than a year for it to be attended to.

"People are not happy with your administration," he said.

"What is important is practical solutions to problems and creativity."

Mr Chitongo took Mr Masunda to task over several issues, including the provision of clean water to residents.

"The fact that the council health department advises residents to use water treatment tablets practically means that you are supplying residents with dirty water," he said.

Mr Chitongo told Mr Masunda that he was a well-respected businessperson, but he had brought the reputation of the city into disrepute.

He challenged him to frequently drive around the city and visit areas such as Mbare to see how the council was failing in service delivery.

Mr Chitongo caused a stir with his lone demonstration last week as he simulated fishing from the trench that had been left unattended for more than a year.

During the demonstration, which was described by Mr Masunda as melodramatic, Mr Chitongo erected a banner inscribed "Masunda Mayoral Fish Pond, First Anniversary."

Harare City Council stands accused of failing on service delivery, with roads in a bad state while residents sometimes go for weeks without water.

The city is also battling to clear mounting garbage in all suburbs, including the city centre.

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