Residents of the populous township of Mbare, Ward 4, have brought forward complaints to Harare News about the mismanagement of affairs by Councillor Martin Matinyanya. Speaking to this paper recently, residents said that the councillor has done nothing to improve their living conditions. Most of the flats have not been repainted for years, many still have no running water and the sewerage system has collapsed. They accuse him of hampering development and politicising his office making it difficult for residents to express their grievances.
“The state of our flats is appalling. Our councillor has not been addressing the pertinent issues and instead there is haphazard allocating of business space,” said a resident who refused to be named for fear of victimization. Another resident, Linford Musiwacho, a vendor who operates at Mbare grounds, said there are no consultations and few feedback meetings. Tapera, a resident of Nenyere flats close to Mukuvisi Business Complex, said, “Our hostels have been encroached on by shacks erected by business people making the living conditions difficult for us.” Another resident, who operates a motor spares business, said council matters are being run chaotically in the ward. “Only those with links to the councillor are heard. Councillors should be accountable to people by listening to their grievances rather than being a boss figure,” he lamented.
Peter Murwira of Best Multiple Cooperative, castigated the councillor saying that instead of concentrating on repairing the roads, which are in appalling state, and the water and sewer reticulation problems, the councillor is perpetuating the deterioration of infrastructure in the area by allocating every space available to people from outside the ward. Best Multiple Cooperative, which is made up of 56 members who are formally employed at Magaba, was recently stopped by the Councillor from constructing a multi-storey building in unclear circumstances despite approval from both the city planning and inspectorate departments.
Another sore issue is that the health situation in the area is severely neglected. “There is no clinic at the Siyaso market or close by despite the hazardous work done in the industrial market,” complained Muriwa.
Contacted by Harare News about complaints by residents in his ward, Councillor Matinyanya said that he was not aware of any grievances. He went on to say that renovations of the flats have been in the pipeline for a while. “We have approached the city engineering department to provide us with their engineers to rehabilitate the water and sewer systems at the flats but it is a process that takes time,” said Matinyanya.
The councillor has been fingered in organising youths who were at the centre of fights in the area where they recently chased away United Arab Emirates (UAE) investors who wanted to pour in more than $45 million towards construction of the state-of-the-art Shawasha Business Complex close to Mupedzanhamo market. As if that was not enough, the local authority has also shelved another mega project that could have seen Mbare bus terminus getting a facelift by fitting it with modern electronic systems to monitor movement of buses from all over the country and region.
Ward 4 encompasses one of the country’s largest produce markets as well as the Mukuvisi Industrial Park (Siyaso) which together provides a livelihood for a substantial portion of the population of the suburb.