Is Marondera town now a ‘fading’ picture?

Lovemore Lubinda

Historically, Marondera town which is the provincial capital for Mashonaland East Province is known of being one of the clean and well run urban municipalities, a visit to the town by Zim News reflected a downward trend in the state of the affairs.

In the town centre though the grounds looked clean, with shrubs and flowers well manicured, potholes on the tar-mark seem to be slowly threatening its well documented glitter.

ZimNews.net had time to tour some suburbs where some developing dump piles could be seen dotted around in various spots. This news crew also spoke to residents, who expressed concern over the current state of affairs, saying the former cleanliness torch bearer is slowly going in the negative direction.

Jennifer Kamurai of Phase 2 (near NSSA houses) along Second Street says as residents, they are now living in fear of contracting water borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid, as people have turned the nearby open stands as a dumping site.

“The problem with this area is that the stands on which people are dumping rubbish in not being developed. If my memory serves me well there is an ownership wrangle between two parties, and that had stalled development.

“If the stands were occupied, no one could have used them for a dumpsite. Council must find a solution to this we are living in fear,” she says.

When Zim News visited the area in question, things were not looking good at all, it looked filthy with foul odour and there were swamps of flies around posing a time bomb to nearby residents.

Jacob Chirema of Phase 3 concurs with Kamurai says things are declining in the once envied town. “I think it is because of the political economy of the day, Marondera town cannot be expected to be doing well when everything in terms of service delivery across the country’s urban centres is on the downward spiral.

“The other problem is that our area is highly politicised in how it is being run, politicians at our local levels cannot take constructive criticism. You criticise them, then you are branded a sell-out and member opposition parties,” he says.

When the Zim News crew visited the local authority’s offices, there were also residents from the affected area at town council offices, who demanded to lodge their complaints with the town mayor, claiming that other offices had failed them by not taking action on their plight.

They refused to be send to the council’s department’s offices, demanding that they wanted audience with the mayor himself.

The mayor who seemed to be in good books from the residents, by the way he identified with them promised to have the issue attended to as a matter of urgency, however, things come to a standstill after residents were asked to put a help hand by loading the rubbish into the truck to be provided by council. One of the residents said; “As residents, we want to be served by the local authority, and not to be asked to load the rubbish. What are the council workers being paid for?”

Meanwhile, Marondera mayor councillor Antony Makwindi confirms the problem, admitted that the authority was not understaffed, but could not shed more light as to why they have failed to clear the rubbish. “Your questioning has gone too far for me. I cannot answer that one,” he says.

Asked again if they have any problems with paying their workers, again said it was too much for him to answer and only said; “I can’t answer that one either,” he said. Makwindi without referring this reporter to the responsible office, only ended by saying he was not the right person to respond to that question.

Last year in October Marondera Municipality had several vehicles attached for having had failed to pay seven former employees who were dismissed by the authority up to US$68 000 in accrued salaries and benefits. Among the 14 vehicles attached included mayor Makwindi’s official vehicle, the town clerk Josiah Musuwo and the finance director John Kachingwe’s vehicles.

The council was directed to reinstate the employees, or pay an arbitral award of 68 000 in packages. Council failed to act on the issue within the stipulated 21 day ultimatum resulting in a writ of execution being issued.