SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma speaks to the Mayor of Harare, Muchadeyi Masunda, on a variety of subjects including the proposals to name streets in Harare after the late army general Solomon Mujuru and other prominent persons.
The Mayor also gives us an update on the water situation and talks about reports that council is not happy with the rentals being paid by preacher Emmanuel Makandiwa for the City Sports Centre.
Interview broadcast 02 July 2012
Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me Behind the Headlines. My guest tonight is the Mayor of Harare, Mr Muchadeyi Masunda. Thank you for joining us. Okay, Harare City Council in the news; we are told Council is mooting a Solomon Mujuru street. How did this come about?
Muchadeyi Masunda: Well what I can tell you is that from time to time, the democratically elected councilors who represent 46 wards within Harare, they come up with recommendations as to which Zimbabwean deserves to be honoured on account of having rendered meritorious service to Zimbabwe and in particular, the city of Harare.
So last year for instance, through the recommendations which were made by some councilors through the relevant standing committees, we resolved as Council to honour eminent sons of Zimbabwe, like Dr Enoch Dumbutshena who was the first Zimbabwean, in other words indigenous indigenous, judge of the High Court and he went on to become the first indigenous indigenous Chief Justice of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
And the second eminent Zimbabwean that we honoured was Professor Walter Joseph Kamba who as we all know was one of the chief legal advisers to up to the end and during the protracted negotiations that culminated in the independence of this country, notably the 1976 talks in Geneva.
So we resolved, and he later on became the first indigenous indigenous Zimbabwean to become the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the hallowed University of Zimbabwe.
So in the case of Enoch Dumbutshena the general consensus is that Rotten Row which is near to the Magistrates Courts in Rotten Row is the street that should be named after him, and in the case of Professor Walter Joseph Kamba the general consensus is that Mount Pleasant Drive which is at the back of the University of Zimbabwe, in particular the Faculty of Law is the one that should be named after him…
Guma: There hasn’t been any discussion on the Solomon Mujuru Street?
Masunda: Not yet but I’ve been given a hint by some of the councilors that it will be tabled in due course, but the other eminent person that we honoured is Dr Martin Luther King, the renowned human rights activist in the United States of America.
And coming back to the late General Solomon Tapfumaneyi Mujuru, I think it will have to go through the normal channels, in other words the relevant standing committee which I’m sure will recommend without much debate in a full council meeting that an appropriate street or avenue in Harare should be named after him on account of the immense contribution that he made towards the liberation of our country.
Guma: Does the Council have the power to make and pass this decision and have it implemented or are there other organizations or institutions that you have to consult with?
Masunda: The Council as the designated local authority within Greater Harare has the prerogative to make the recommendation and the nomination but once we’ve done that, because we don’t operate in a vacuum, we have to transmit our recommendations to the National Museums and Monuments committee which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Office of the President and Cabinet.
And if they agree once we’ve made that recommendation which is usually endorsed and so we are just awaiting for that endorsement in respect of Dr Enoch Dumbutshena, Professor Walter Joseph Kamba and Dr Martin Luther King and as and when we pass the resolution in respect of the late General Mujuru, the same process will have to be followed.
Guma: Council has also been in the news over the issue of the rental of the City Sports Centre by popular preacher Emmanuel Makandiwa. It is being reported that you are demanding more money from the church. Could you comment on that?
Masunda: What has to be appreciated by the hard-pressed rate payers of the City of Harare is that we have an obligation to make all those assets that come under the control, the management…….that’s one of the main sources of revenue that we have because we need the revenue to provide the much vaunted service delivery.
And what we must never do because that would be the height of negligence is to let people use Council facilities at sub-economic rental.
So I’m not about to pre-empt the decision which will obviously be made in the not too distant future by a committee comprising representatives from the United Family International Church which is led by the prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and representatives from the City of Harare to have a good look, dispassionate look at how much by way of rentals the organization we are talking about is paying for the use virtually every Sunday of the City Sports Centre and how much they should be paying. Now the whole exercise will be professionally done…
Guma: How much are they paying right now?
Masunda: I can’t tell you the figure offhand because I don’t get involved in the nitty gritty of all those things…….matter of principle but what I can tell you is that the amount being paid is not anywhere near where it should be.
And we have situations where there are people in excess of ten thousand, and I’m told in certain instances of twenty thousand who throng into that facility; they use our water there, they use, oh you name it we provide it. I think it’s only fair that they should be paying market related hire charges.
Guma: Now there are accusations obviously that they have been using this facility for quite some time without Council making these sorts of demands and that maybe you are feeding into the general hype that this church has a lot of money. There has been a lot of reporting on the prophet’s cars and things like that – how would you respond to such accusations?
Masunda: No my response to that is simply this – from time to time we have to review the leases and the rentals that we charge in respect of any facility, City Sports Centre included and the same applies to the hiring of our halls like Mai Musodzi Hall, Stoddart Hall, the list goes on.
From time to time we have to review the position because we are in Harare Zimbabwe in 2012 operating in a dollarized environment and we are not in the business of providing services for that cheap.
Guma: Last week the city of Masvingo went three days without water; we are told the problem was a burst water pipe and that the city’s ever expanding population has given rise to a need to expand the infrastructure.
Could you give us an update on the situation in Harare? The last time we spoke, you were working on a few projects aimed at solving some of the issues – how far have you gone?
Masunda: I can happily report that there are two initiatives that have been undertaken; one was the commissioning of what we call an ODIF at Morton Jaffrey. That has happened and that will yield an additional 80 to 100 mega litres of water, treated water that was being lost before.
And on top of that we are rehabilitating the sewerage reticulation infrastructure at Firle and Crowborough, we are about half way there because the installed designed capacity of Firle sewage treatment plant is around 124 mega litres of raw sewer per day and that at Crowborough is around 64.
So we first all need to lay our hands on this loan that we managed to get from the Chinese Export and Import Bank to complete that before the end of this year and once we’ve done that not only are we going to install the design capacity of 300 mega litres of raw sewer per day but we’ll also be able to reclaim anything between 40 and 60 mega litres of water from those two sewerage treatment plants and put that water back in the city.
Guma: Well Zimbabwe, that’s the Mayor of Harare, Mr Muchadeyi Masunda joining us on this edition of Behind the Headlines. Mr Masunda we’d like to thank you very much for your time.
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