HATE him or love him, Mutare City Council Town Clerk, Mr Joshua Maligwa, has been the proverbial new broom that sweeps clean, at least as far as issues to do with service delivery and minimising corruption within the local authority are concerned.
It is a virtue to give credit where it is due, thus we feel not only duty bound, but an act of good citizenship to speak of the good that Mutare City Council has done since early March when the incumbent Town Clerk was appointed.
Far from the roads that are being spruced up across the city and improved water supply in some areas, there is another aspect of Mutare City Council’s current administration that has earned the respect of all and sundry.
The local authority’s sudden change of attitude toward sporting activities must be commended. Over the years, Mutare City Council had adopted a carefree, business-as-usual approach to issues related to sport. It had become a norm that the derelict Sakubva Stadium would be barred from hosting top-flight league matches at the start of every Premiership season.
We shall not talk about the dilapidated state of a number of sporting facilities dotted around the city as the local authority, in its wisdom or lack of it thereof, paid a deaf ear to calls to renovate sporting infrastructure.
In this line of thinking, sports was at the periphery and not worthy of their attention at all. However, there has been noticeable change in the way Mutare City Council is treating matters to do with sport.
No wonder, their team, Mutare City Rovers, is on the verge of a quick return to Premiership football as it is currently on top of the Eastern Region Division One League log with only nine rounds of matches to go.
Elsewhere in this newspaper, we carry a story on the positive remarks by Minister of Sports and Recreation, Cde Makhosini Hlongwane, who praised the local authority for successfully hosting its sports festival last weekend.
“Today marks the birth of the anticipated Mutare City Council Sport Festival envisioned to develop a culture of physical fitness among workers and residents of the eastern border city.
“Therefore, it is pleasing to note that Mutare has taken the lead in aligning its public service mandate by implementing policy dictates set out by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation. Mutare is riding in the right course as it has initiated the formation of 43 teams,” said Cde Hlongwane.
The local authority is doing its part with limited resources though to prioritise sport as a source of employment as well as a panacea to good health.
Mutare City Sports Festival saw different departments within the local authority engaging in competition in various sports genres that include football for men and women, darts, tug of war, volleyball, pool and chess.
As if this is not enough, Mutare City Council will be taking part in the Inter City Games — an annual sports festival that will be hosted in Bindura this year where most local authorities come together to compete in different sporting disciplines.
All this is happening at a time that Mutare City Council had not even placed these activities in its budget, but sheer dedication and commitment has seen the local authority going out of its way scrounging for resources to have it done. If this does not deserve acclaim, then nothing does!
As residents, let us play our part by paying what is due to the local authority for them to continue supporting sports development in our beautiful city.
We should also not vandalise sporting facilities and infrastructure availed to us by the city fathers and management because our children will one day curse us as a generation that presided over the vandalism of property in the city.
We hope other institutions and local authorities in Manicaland will follow suit so that the province reclaims its position as a force to reckon with in sports, be it soccer, athletics, cricket, rugby, netball, basketball and volleyball.