Monday, 5 January 2015

Harare City Council being run like a Betting Club

By Bishop Happison Chikova
When Councillors, including the Mayor and a few bootlicking supporters mostly from the main opposition gathered to craft a statutory instrument of 2013 [HARARE (CLAMPING AND TOW AWAY) (AMENDMENT) BY-LAWS, 2013], and when the Minister of Local Government approved this unrealistic statutory instrument that is meant to syphon motorist and the public funds through exorbitant fines one is forced to think that the change that the nation has been waiting for more than three decades will come through the New Generation.
Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni flanked by his deputy Thomas Muzuva and Councilor Wellington Chikomo at Town House in Harare
The way this statutory instrument is being administered leaves one to question the credibility and capacity of the Harare city council to run the city.

The people are quite aware of the short comings in the Harare city’s administration but the authorities have gone too far in their crusade of milking the people in a quest to raise money for the city.

However, the Harare city council must be aware that it also the city council’s duty and responsibility according to the Urban Council Act to create employment for its residents through income generating activities.

Thousands of people have been losing their vehicles due to failure to pay hefty fines that amount to about $300 including the towing, storage charges and the actual fine that is at $92 for small vehicles.

The Harare city is being run like a social club rather than a business entity. When one asks the authority or suggest alternatives to modern approaches of running a city, the Mayor will be quick to defend his position saying that they are only mandated to collect revenue from the residents.

However, we have leaders that are blinked to the extent that they cannot institute changes when they preside over a system. The Urban Council Act is not like the laws of Moses that were inscribed on stones hence not easy to amend.

To inflict more damages and looting from the public, amendments were made to impound vehicles for 14 days before the owner can come and claim his / her vehicle at a fee of $11-$17 per day as storage charges.

My argument is, when there is no enough free space at the city stores, why then would the council increase the days to 14 days? I also feel sorry for the foreigners and city visitors, who have to wait for 14 days in order to reclaim their cars.

It is not surprising that some of the vehicles that are auctioned apart from those of the suffering residents belong to the visitors who could not bear and endure 14 days of waiting for the car to be released.

These are some of the modern tactics that are being devised by the city fathers to steal the property of suffering Zimbabweans especially the Harare residents so that they can auction their vehicles.

The city fathers are aware of the challenges the residents are facing, and gazetting such draconian pieces of legal instruments is not a way to punish but loot from the poor suffering citizens.

The impounded vehicles are left without proper security and thieves if not city council workers have taken advantage of the poor security to steal parts like batteries, wheels and other items.

The argument in this whole scam by the city council is the moral obligation of impounding a vehicle worth $8000 just because the owner has failed to pay $300, surely colonisation is back.

One can argue that the offenders are breaking the city by-laws but if it was a correctional punishment, why are the fines too exorbitant, 300% higher than the Zimbabwe National Traffic fines charged by the police?

What was the model used to come up with these fines? The only viable and democratic model is to consult the public.

Tirimugango – (We are in a hot traditional pan). The days are coming and are near when the people of Harare are going to demand adequate service delivery from the Harare City Council ranging from adequate water supply, clean water supply as according to the WHO standards, repair of roads, clean streets, and proper collection of bins among other services.

We can’t just watch when our rights are being violated.

Ndugu!!! – Bishop Happison Chikova (African Democratic Party:- Secretary General)
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