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Zimbabwe Municipal Authorities Struggle To Deliver Key Services

The quality of life for urban dwellers in Zimbabwe is rapidly deteriorating as newly appointed urban authorities battle to provide essential services, officials and civic activists say.

The central government appointed a new Harare mayor and other officials last month to work with councilors of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change elected in March. Harare has not had an elected mayor since 2003, when opposition incumbent Elias Mudzuri was suspended from his functions by the government and a commission put in place.

Chief Executive Officer Barnabas Mangodza of the Combined Harare Residents Association told Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the new municipal authorities have an uphill battle on their hands addressing critical water and power shortages along with a collapse in health care, all undermining the quality of life in Harare.

In the eastern Mutare, a new MDC mayor and 18 councilors were to take office Thursday.

Chairman Geoff White of the Mutare Residents and Rate Payers Association expressed confidence the new council will do its best, though offering the caveat that central government interference could limit its ability to deliver services.

Residents of Bulawayo have not fared much better than their fellow citizens in Harare and Mutare a week after opposition councilors there chose Patrick Moyo as mayor.

Chairman Winos Dube of the Bulawayo United Residents Association said that while water and power are critical issues, the root cause of most problems is hyperinflation

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...