HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s office has expressed alarm at the state of the capital – warning the Harare City Council (HCC) that it risks failing to meet its audacious target of turning the once sunshine city into a world-class status by 2025.
This comes hard on the heels of remarks by Tourism minister Walter Mzembi who on Monday publicly expressed his annoyance at the country’s worsening rot which he said had made Zimbabwe a ‘hard sell’ to international tourists.
Deputy chief secretary in the office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndlukula on Tuesday warned that HCC’s 2025 vision of a world-class city could be derailed by poor service delivery and damaged roads.
“The city’s 5 000km or so road network has now the majority of it filled with potholes and in some instances the tarmac has been eroded to resemble gravel roads in rural communities.
“Furthermore, some structures were built in the colonial era and now pose as a danger to occupants, as their safety standards have been compromised.
“Heaps and heaps of uncollected rubbish are now a familiar face in some parts of the city especially in high density suburbs, with some residents and small business operators now taking the initiative to burn the litter on their own hence causing another problem to the environment which is pollution,” Ndlukula said while addressing a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) review meeting, in the capital.
“Dilapidated water and sewer reticulation systems…have also caused problems in the city in the form of burst sewer pipes and sewage thereby posing some health dangers to the population.
“Additionally, the response and reaction time by council employees to calls to redress the challenges also leaves a lot to be desired, hence causing streams of sewerage water to flow across residential areas into city rivers and stream.
“It is therefore government’s hope that the HCC as the pioneer among local authorities of the RRI will be able to address the challenge otherwise the city’s vision of achieving a world- class city status by 2025 would remain a pipe dream,” added Ndlukula .
Ndlukula’s principal, Mugabe who has been in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain, has been accused, together with his government, of ruining the country’s once-prosperous economy.
On Monday, Mzembi , while launching the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (IYSTD), slammed the deplorable and decayed state of Harare and the country’s other cities and towns
“Littering is everybody’s business. We have had the experience of visiting other countries and the littering here shames us,” Mzembi said.
“Cleanliness as they say is next to Godliness … I can’t market a dirty environment and we will have a deliberate effort to make sure that there is a clean-up message going on.
“There will be a comprehensive and sustained national clean-up campaign programme in which every citizen of Zimbabwe should proudly partake.
“The aim is to encourage behavioural change at national level on littering and to promote awareness of the importance of cleanliness in the country.
“This will provide a platform for active participation by different communities and corporates to work towards fostering a culture of cleanliness,” he added.