Municipal Police Carrying Guns They Don't Know How To Use
Town House in Harare (left) is the seat of the MDC-T-controlled Harare City Council, which is now accussed of gross negligence by its workers, including giving away guns to untrained people who do not know how to use them
Harare, Zimbabwe, 06 December 2009
Imagine Joseph Chinotimba carrying a gun wantonly in the streets of Harare?
Well, the Workers Committee of for Harare City Council workers is alleging that guns have been dished out to all and sundry and no one has seen to their training. So municipal police are now carrying guns which they have no idea how to use.
This is coming from the workers themselves, mind you.
Even Traffic Enforcement people, known already for their rough behaviour towards citizens even when they were not armed, are now gun-totting around Harare. I guess no one will ever argue with them. Or we will hear of a shoot-out with an armed and irate motorist with prexisting "outstanding issues".
This is one of many grievances they have against the City Council in Harare. They have a long list of demands which culminate in the demand for the Director of Public Safety to be fired. The demands, outstanding since August, have largely been ignored by the Council, with the City's Spokesman saying it was "ridiculous" for the workers to demand the firing of someone they did not hire in the first place.
Other revelations from the workers include the fact that the Harare Fire Brigade is in a state of total collapse, woefully inadequately equipped and that the Director Of Public Safety has been looting trucks from the Fire Brigade, selling them and then hiring them back from the new owners.
It all sounds as if there is huge corruption and underhand dealing going on at the Town House and the workers say they have enough of it. They are going in strike in 14 days if the Director is not fired and their other grievances seen to.
Council has not responded to the workers yet, although now that it has all been made public, they will obvioulsy try to be publicly seen to be doing something about the whole mess.
If these workers downed their tools, we could see a return to last year, when rubbish piled up in the city and everything, including public toilets, virtually closed. It is not clear yet to what extent the workers will go with this but if it was only restricted to a strike by public safety workers, its impact would be minimal, perhaps even liberating, on the city.
Which would defeat the whole point of the exercise.
And it would not make the city any more likely to act quickly, especially after having dismissed their demands as "ridiculous".