When you elect clowns, you get a circus

11 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
When you elect clowns, you get a circus

The Sunday Mail

When you elect clowns, you get a circus

IAN MAKONE might have been part of a coterie of Morgan Tsvangirai’s trusted lieutenants, but he has always lived his life in the political shadows.

The man is so overly reserved as to be unassuming.

Despite his often shabby and unkempt look, perhaps because of his rugged beard, his deportment is seemingly urbane, which is hardly surprising for someone educated at Leicester University in the United Kingdom and later on assumed executive posts at the Grain Marketing Board and private companies such as Manica Group.

This is why Bishop Lazi finds it difficult to believe the claim that the chap was expelled together with students such as David Karimanzira — may his dear soul rest in peace — from the then-University of Rhodesia sometime in the 70s for his political activism.

He is clearly a softie that is not cut from the same cloth used to make the kind of breed that can survive the intrigue and rough-and-tumble world of politics.

The Ward 18 councillor could not last the distance after being elected Harare mayor on September 11 last year, as he was recalled 58 days later by CCC’s interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.

He had hardly learnt his way around the office when trigger-happy Tshabangu wielded the axe, which also fell on the deputy mayor, Kudzai Kadzombe.

Makone now has more time on his hands to tend his vegetable garden in Domboshava.

In Kadzombe’s case, it was good riddance.

In 2020, she, together with her garrulous colleague Denford Ngadziore, tried to enrol for a degree programme with the Catholic University through the back door without the basic minimum requirements.

The notoriously venal university staffer who tried to scandalously register the duo for the programme was subsequently fired.

As if that was not enough, in 2022, she hit the headlines again after being fined by the Environmental Management Agency for constructing a property on a 4 000-square metre stand that was dubiously allocated to her in a wetland in Marlborough.

It would have been arguably less controversial had she not been the chairperson of Harare City Council’s Environmental Management Committee.


Well, the jettisoning of Makone on November 7 led to the November 21 election of a new mayor, Lovejoy Chitengu, who was, however, similarly in Tshabangu’s cross hairs.

No sooner had he begun warming up the seat of his new role than a letter of recall was delivered to Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando on November 26, just a few days later.

It made Chitengu probably the shortest-serving mayor in the history of our teapot-shaped Republic.

Again, it was good riddance.

During his embarrassingly short stint, Chitengu — a well-known yob who used to direct traffic at Harvest House — and six other councillors, as well as executives from the Harare City Council, blew more than US$24 000 and $133 million in allowances and expenses for a workshop in Nyanga that had nothing to do with the cholera crisis that was plaguing the city.

As fate would have it, Jacob Mafume would muscle his way back after being re-elected on December 21, 2023.

He became the city’s third mayor in less than four months.

This is nothing short of rank madness!

Looking into the crystal ball, Bishop Lazi does not think he will last.

Some councillors, such as the crass and foul-mouthed Blessing Duma, are already baying for his blood.

As soon as Nelson Chamisa and his allies regroup and launch their blue thingy, Mafume is a goner.

He is a dead man walking.

So, essentially, due to the vicious factional fights in the opposition, assuming the mayorship of Harare is now akin to a bull riding competition, where the rider would always inevitably fall, sometimes at the risk of serious life-threatening injuries.

This not only shows the extent of the paralysing turbulence and turmoil in the opposition that has arrested development in most local authorities, especially the City of Harare, which is responsible for the capital, but also the calibre of councillors running the affairs of our towns and cities.

They have no qualms about parcelling out land and building in wetlands.

They are not even ashamed of compromising officials to get their way.

They lack probity to the extent of feasting on funds from ratepayers without an ounce of concern about service provision.

And, according to their colleagues, some of them are in the habit of turning up for council meetings while high on illicit drugs and substances.

It is a mess!

Hiring clowns

But former Harare Mayor Ben Manyenyeni, who has had the unpleasant experience of working with thoroughly inept and clueless councillors over the years, warned voters before the August 23-24 elections last year to be wary of choosing “rural people to run their cities”. Kikikiki.

Although the Bishop, who traces his roots to the village, takes umbrage at Manyenyeni’s cheap shots at rural people, which came across as haughty and snobbish, he perfectly understands the import of his exhortation.

“As we head for municipal elections, one big question is how urban is your next councillor, the custodian of your urban lifestyle.

“The danger of having rural people running cities must be contained. It dilutes expectations, outcomes and deliverables. Many urban residents are not fit for town themselves, which is also contributing to the decline. Can we at least point to the urban leaders confidently,” he said.


And he was not finished.

He continued: “From 30 metres away, our city fathers must look unmistakenly ‘urban’ — they must smell city from a distance.

“Personal track records must tell us who they are and what urban values and experiences they present to residents . . .”

He was probably right.

You reap what you sow.

If you sow the wind, you are likely to reap a whirlwind.

And if you elect clowns, you are likely to get a circus.

Hosea 8:3-8 tells us: “But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him.

“They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval.

“With their silver and gold, they make idols for themselves to their own destruction.

“Samaria, throw out your calf-idol! My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of purity? They are from Israel! This calf — a metalworker has made it; it is not God. It will be broken in pieces, that calf of Samaria.

“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up. Israel is swallowed up; now she is among the nations like something no one wants.”

In the name of God, please go!

But there always comes a time when the circus comes to an end or must be brought to an end.

This year will be defining.

We would be better off without them.

Bishop Lazarus would want our city fathers to reflect on President ED’s inauguration speech on November 24, 2017.

It might have been addressed to civil servants, but it applies to them as well.

“It cannot be business as usual. You now have to roll up your sleeves in readiness to deliver.

“We have an economy to recover, a people to serve. Each and every one of us must now earn their hour, day, week and month at work,” he said.

“The culture in Government just has to change, unseating those little ‘gods’ idly sitting in public offices, for a busy, empathetic civil service that Zimbabwe surely deserves.”

This is ominous.

ED is in a race against time to deliver his vision for Zimbabwe.

They say leadership is not about taking the people where they want but where they ought to be.

The Government will soon be coming in a big way to change the face of the capital.

There will soon be major refurbishment works on key roads in the city as a sign of things to come.

It should be a wake-up call for city fathers to lead, follow or get out of the way.

It is way past time for inept and good-for-nothing councillors and councils to go.

As England’s Oliver Cromwell told the ineffectual English parliament on that consequential day on April 20, 1653, we also say to them: “It is not fit that you should sit here any longer. You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing lately . . . In the name of God, go!”

Bishop out!

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