BULAWAYO City Council has come under fire over its decision to engage the services of the police and the army to curb littering in the city, with the move being described as “anti-people” and autocratic.
MDC-Renewal spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu, said that the local authority’s decision to call upon the army was barbaric and the use of fear over a simple matter like litter was totally unnecessary.
“The MDC-Renewal party condemns the move to call upon, mainly, the army for purposes of litter in the strongest terms,” he said.
“We hope that when the mayor announced that the army’s services would be required he was joking since many are merry during the festive season.
“The joke is in bad taste because, first it was the issue of prepaid water meters and now this.
“We now fear that the city council does not serve the interests of the public because first it was the issue of prepaid water meters that was said to have been approved despite the clear refutation by the public, and now the plan to control citizens using fear.”
Ndlovu said the deployment of the army raised fear and could remind many of the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide, where approximately
20 000 people in Matabeleland and the Midlands were killed by a crack military unit.
“The people from Matabeleland are afraid of them and the use of fear in controlling littering is certainly not necessary,” he said.
Ndlovu said instead of using fear to control the citizens of Bulawayo, the council could enforce the city’s by-laws that indicate that people illegally dumping or street littering should pay a fine ranging from $20 to $5 000.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo was quoted in some sections of the media saying the city council had resolved to deploy the police and army in Bulawayo to monitor people dropping litter on streets.
This was after the city council minutes stated that the involvement of the army in controlling littering was prudent. He said the police and soldiers would only “instruct” anyone seen throwing litter to pick it up and use the bins.