MUNICIPALITIES in Harare Province have been ordered to provide material and human resources amounting to tens of thousands in US dollars for President Emmerson Mnangagwa's 45-day presidential cleanup campaign which starts Thursday.
The directive was given by Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) Tafadzwa Muguti. The operation, which will target those illegally occupying or engaging in businesses on wetlands, as well as sand poachers and brick moulders, residential waste and emissions in Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Epworth councils, ends on December 15.
Already reeling from low revenue streams and failure to provide expected services in their jurisdictions, councils will each have to provide 80 municipal officers, 10 tipper trucks, three front end loaders, five compactors, fuel, lunch and refreshments for all personnel in the operation.
According to a Chitungwiza Municipality report, the operation is in response to Mnangagwa's concerns on increased environment related crimes within the metropolitan province.
“This follows high level meetings held on the 7th and 8th November 2022 at Zimbabwe Investment Agency (ZIA) House and Rainbow Towers respectively. The Operation is a response to the concerns raised by the Presidium over increased environmental crimes in Harare Province.
“Additional manpower will be deployed from ZRP (50), Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Ministry of Local Government, Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID).”
The operation will be headed by the Director Local Governance and deputised by Zimbabwe Republic Police's (ZRP) Chief Superintendent Operation, Chief Security Officers from the four councils and desk officers from the Ministry of Local Government.
Roles meant for Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives are not specified in the document. Asked if Chitungwiza Municipality could afford supporting the initiative, spokesperson Lovemore Meya said they were in a position to do so.
“Chitungwiza adopted this and is fully supporting the programme. We will ensure maximum support in terms of resources,” said Meya.
Harare council spokesperson, Innocent Ruwende was not in a position to answer, referring all questions to Muguti.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) Director Alice Kuvheya said they were not in support of the operation and wanted their council's top brass to be fired and replaced by people residing in the dormitory town, who understand better issues affecting them.
Kuvheya questioned how council could be able to finance part of the operation when it has gone for months without paying salaries.
“There is no coordination between councilors and management. We wish the whole management gets fired and is replaced by people from Chitungwiza who understand our problems better,” said Kuvheya.
“This is rubbish. So they can afford fuel and lunches for people to demolish but they cannot pay workers, collect garbage or fix our sewer system.”
Kuvheya said Chitungwiza council had no right to demolish anything as it had recently forced residents on the same spaces to pay US$2 000 as part of its regularisation process.
The four councils have been ordered to take ownership of all sand abstraction and brick moulding sites and put bins every 80 metres.
EMA has been ordered to collect refuse and garnish the costs from the four councils. All construction on wetlands will be demolished so as to restore them to their original state.