GWERU mayor Josiah Makombe has been elected Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz) president.
He takes over from former Harare mayor Benard Manyenyeni, who held the position over the past three years.
Makombe (MDC Alliance) defeated Karoi mayor Abel Matsika (Zanu PF) in polls held in Mutare last Thursday.
The elections were conducted by UCAZ general secretary Livison Mutekede. Makombe polled 57 votes against Matsika’s paltry 7.
Makombe will be deputised by Mutare mayor Blessing Thandi as first vice-president and Beitbridge mayor Morgan Ncube as second vice-president. First Kwekwe female mayor Angeline Kasipo took the gender slot, while Chiredzi mayor Gibson Hwende was elected board member.
In an interview, an elated Makombe said he is honoured to have been chosen to lead Ucaz and vowed to reward the trust put on him with progressive leadership.
“Firstly, I would like to thank all the city fathers who saw it fit that I occupy the position that will see me leading from the front,” Makombe said.
“I am going to hit the ground running and ensure that I work on the challenges that urban councils face. The biggest task I will put on my to-do list is to push for improvement in service delivery in all our towns. We really need to find a solution on how services like water provision, garbage collection and roads rehabilitation can be improved across the country.”
Makombe also pledged to make frequent follow-ups with government so that the grants that urban authorities must get from the fiscus are timeously remitted to urban councils.
“Over the years, government has not been effectively disbursing the money that should come from the fiscus to the urban councils. This is one of the reasons why councils have been struggling. I will need to work on that. We also need to find out how urban councils themselves can generate revenue outside the base of rates payments.
Councils must have other projects that bring in income, so I will try hard to work on that goal during my tenure,” Makombe said.
Ucaz is a voluntary association of 32 urban local authorities, enjoying a 100% membership of all urban councils in Zimbabwe. It is one of the oldest local government associations in Africa. It started as a loose forum of municipalities in 1923 when councils used to meet and discuss matters of mutual concern.