EDITORIAL COMMENT: Saviour Kasukuwere deserves support

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Saviour Kasukuwere deserves support
Savious Kasukuwere

Savious Kasukuwere

LOCAL Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s name is normally associated with controversy.
When he was the minister of youth development, indigenisation and economic empowerment, he made waves with his combativeness as he leaned heavily on foreign-owned companies he accused of frustrating his black economic empowerment crusade. Long after he had left that ministry, executives of foreign-owned companies still develop goose pimples by the mere mention of Kasukuwere’s name.
As ZANU-PF’s national political commissar, Kasukuwere’s restructuring of the party has drawn controversy from certain quarters, unimpressed by his decisions, amid suspicion that the party’s chief campaigner could be attempting to give an unfair advantage to the other camp, caught up in President Robert Mugabe’s succession conundrum.
As Local Government Minister, councils dominated by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), are also kicking and ranting at the mention of Kasukuwere’s name. As far as they are concerned, his mission is to vanquish the MDC-T from urban centres.
The latter cannot go unchallenged.
While the MDC-T’s concerns could be legitimate, the party must also blame itself for playing into Kasukuwere’s hands. MDC-T councillors have been pathetic in the discharge of their duties. There is no city or town under the opposition party’s dominion that has fared well in availing basic services to residents.
Across all municipalities, the story is the same: Service delivery has gone down.
Granted, part of the problem lies in a worsening economy, but it goes beyond that. Councillors have been found wanting through their wanton abuse of office in order to enrich themselves.
In Chitungwiza, residents are currently up in arms with their councillors for helping themselves to residential stands. In Mutare, an audit unearthed instances whereby councillors, working in cahoots with the city’s management, seized arbitrage opportunities to line their pockets. In Harare, a number of councillors have been arraigned before the courts on allegations of abusing their offices.
The list is endless.
It is against this background that Kasukuwere now comes across as the proverbial knight in shining armour.
In his first week in office, he threatened to fire councils that do not shape up. Thereafter, he started cracking the whip on illegal housing developments that have mushroomed throughout the capital city.
And only last week, he issued a directive banning councils from convening workshops, conferences and seminars in areas outside their jurisdictions in order to prevent wasteful expenditures. For those learning opportunities convened within their jurisdictions, councillors and their management will not be entitled to allowances.
It is quite evident that the city fathers of today are different from those of yesteryear whose calling was that of giving back to their communities by improving on service delivery. The city fathers of today are only worried about themselves: The moment they set their foot in council chambers, the spirit of greed takes over.
Because the interests of residents become secondary in this whole matrix, it takes initiatives such as those being implemented by Kasukuwere to safeguard the interests of ratepayers, whose hard-earned income is currently going towards funding extravagant lifestyles of city fathers.
It is for this reason that Kasukuwere deserves our support.
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