THE majority of Zimbabwe’s cities and towns on Monday ushered in new leadership as councillors elected first-time mayors and their deputies.
Bulawayo has new brooms in Ward 3 councillor Martin Moyo who was voted mayor and his deputy Gift Banda, a well-known former football administrator and businessman.
In his acceptance speech, Moyo pledged to turnaround the fortunes of the City of Bulawayo well known for its sound management and principled leadership.
He also noted the tough task ahead of him to restore service delivery and repair infrastructure that has suffered serious neglect over the past decade.
Moyo’s task is not very different from that of Hamutendi Kombayi in Gweru who became the City of Progress’ new mayor.
Hamutendi’s election was history in the making in that he followed in his father Patrick Kombayi’s footsteps — who became the city’s first black mayor at independence in 1980.
Just like other newly-elected mayors across the country, expectations are high for Moyo and Kombayi to change the way things are done in their cities and towns.
Ratepayers have suffered poor service delivery for far too long and the situation got worse in the past five years when councillors appeared to have abandoned their promise to serve residents, electing to enrich themselves.
The MDC-T, which controlled most urban areas, was forced to suspend Kombayi’s predecessor in Gweru and several councillors especially in Harare and Chitungwiza on corruption allegations.
Corruption had become entrenched in local authorities to an extent that the party did not want to be associated with its own elected representatives.
It is our hope that the incoming councillors and those who were retained learnt from the experiences of Harare, Gweru and Chitungwiza that being voted into office is not a licence to loot.
MDC-T needs to uphold the standards it set by showing zero tolerance to corruption.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo also has the unenviable task of living up to the standards he set by firing incompetent and corrupt councillors now that Zanu PF controls the majority of local authorities.