HARARE – First Lady Grace Mugabe and Zanu PF youth league leader Kudzanai Chipanga yesterday castigated Marondera council for fixing potholed roads only because President Robert Mugabe was holding a rally in the town.
Speaking at the Zanu PF youth rally in Marondera, Grace said rehabilitation of the town’s roads was supposed to be done, even when Mugabe was not visiting the town.
She warned the local authority, which falls under Saviour Kasukuwere’s Local Government ministry, to refrain from covering up its shortcomings by window dressing when the president is holding events.
Ahead of Mugabe’s rally yesterday, Marondera Town Council embarked on an extensive road rehabilitation and maintenance exercise.
“This business of fixing roads when the president is being expected in a city should stop,” the first lady said.
“Roads should be fixed all the time and not when Mugabe is coming. We should be seen to deliver on that not only when we are meeting,” she said, adding that ”when people voted for us we made numerous promises to deliver on their expectations. We do not want to be seen to act only when we want votes. It should be happening daily and not on occasions”.
Youth league chairperson Chipanga weighed in saying when word got around that the rally had been moved by one day, the town council worked day and night to create an impression that the roads were well maintained, yet that was not the case.
“There were so any potholes in Marondera, however, when we said … Mugabe is coming here they were patched immediately. People worked day and night,” he said.
“However, my argument is where were these people all this time? Did they not see the potholes before the rally was scheduled for Marondera? That should not happen,” Chipanga said, adding “that is why we are saying in the next council the youths are coming for those positions in council. No councillor is safe”.
Meanwhile, local authorities have been complaining that since Zinara took over road management funds collection, it has not been remitting enough money to them, resulting in the poor state of the infrastructure.
Most of Zimbabwe’s roads have become unnavigable due to the heavy rains that the country received in the 2016/17 season, prompting the Transport ministry to declare a state of disaster.
In response to the plight, government — through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme — has so far raised $35 million to rehabilitate the roads damaged by the rains.