HARARE – The first published utterances by the new Kwekwe Mayor last week were so unbelievable that you had to read them three or four times in order to make sense of them.
“I’m not going to be driving a brand new expensive vehicle on roads with potholes which are littered with heaps of uncollected refuse and call myself a Mayor,” he said.
“I was put into office to ensure service delivery and that is going to be my first priority.”
Kwekwe Mayor, Matenda Madzoke is apparently entitled to a new vehicle as a perk for his new job.
The Kwekwe council had chosen a 4×4 Toyota D Tec for their new mayor along with new vehicles for four other senior members of their management.
The whole bill for the five new vehicles was apparently going to come to be a staggering amount of $450 000.
The mayor’s vehicle was priced at $68 000 and the Kwekwe council had apparently already paid an initial deposit of $38 000 for but hadn’t yet taken delivery of the vehicle.
”Being a Mayor means prioritising what is important for the city,” Madzoke said before apparently instructing the Kwekwe municipality to use the $38 000 already paid to instead acquire a refuse removal tractor or truck.
Across Zimbabwe people must be saying: “Please Mr Madzoke, come and be the mayor of our town.”
Has Zimbabwe finally found an administrator who understands that his job is to serve the people and not himself?
At last, the most important word takes its rightful place in Zimbabwe: “priorities”.
When people are surviving on one meal a day; 2,2 million Zimbabweans in need of food aid; 80 percent of the population do not have formal employment, these must be the priorities of our leaders, not perks.
There is not a town or city across the country which is not crying out for urgent attention to service delivery.
Things like potable water, roads, sewage, refuse collection, street lighting and cleanliness must be the top priority of every mayor, across the country.
That is exactly why they were voted into office by residents and ratepayers.
It is not often we get good news stories from people in positions of authority and responsibility in Zimbabwe.
As they fall out of favour, or out of their marriages, we hear of their accumulation of massive wealth, of multiple houses, numerous land holdings, fleets of vehicles and company interests.
If Mayor Madzoke is able to stay true to his word and make service delivery to the people his priority while he is in office, then he is surely destined for great things.
Just imagine how different Zimbabwe could be if the actions of the mayor of Kwekwe were to imitated by leaders of local and central government across the country.
This could be the start of a new revolution; one where humility and service replace greed and self enrichment.
All eyes are on Madzoke who, before he has even started his new job, has won support and admiration of weary, broke, frustrated ratepayers who have been taken for granted by their councils for many years.
We cannot help wondering if the other four members of the Kwekwe council have also refused to accept their new vehicles.
Do the job, get the reward, in that order; not get the car then maybe (or maybe not) do the job.