By Tendai Kamhungira
Former Finance minister Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has said Zimbabwe’s filthy cities now depict the situation in war-torn countries.
This comes after Tourism minister Walter Mzembi recently publicly expressed his annoyance at the country’s worsening rot, which he said makes Zimbabwe a “hard sell” to international tourists.
Also, President Robert Mugabe’s office has expressed alarm at the state of the capital, Harare, warning the city’s local authority that it risks failing to meet its audacious target of transform the once sunshine city into world-class status by 2025.
PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the country’s once prosperous and clean cities are suffering at the hands of the Mugabe administration’s failures.
“…the cities have a hallmark of cities in war-torn countries,” he said in a statement.
“…downtown Harare or Fourth Street is reflective of Freetown, Monrovia or Kinshasa,” Mafume said.
Speaking on the sorry state of the capital last week, deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula warned that Harare City Council’s 2025 vision of a world-class city could be derailed by poor service delivery and damaged roads.
He said Harare’s 5 000km road network is now filled with potholes, while in some instances the tarmac has been totally eroded.
“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,” Ndhlukula said.
But Mafume said Mugabe must take full responsibility of the country’s state of affairs.
“Mugabe is the chief architect of all the vices that have dogged our country; sadly our cities have also been an immediate casualty.
“While we appreciate the fact that local authorities could have made better decisions in many instances, Mugabe must also take responsibility for the bigger picture of redefining failure.
“Mugabe is running an ineffective State drowning in corruption, fragility and now facing State failure. His clear defiance of the supreme law by refusing to implement devolution as promulgated by the national Constitution has made it difficult for local authorities to make independent decisions,” he said.
Mafume further said 37 years after independence, Mugabe’s administration is still using equipment that was left by the British colonisers.
“Mugabe’s lack of vision is even dangerous going forward with surveys predicting that 56 percent of the people on the African continent will be living in urban centres by 2050.
“Zimbabwe is already struggling with cholera and typhoid; it will only get worse when urban population increases,” he said, calling on the government to adopt a holistic approach to the issue. Daily News