Facelift on cards for Mbare Musika

By Helen Kadirire

The Harare City Council will soon embark on a facelift of Mbare Musika vegetable market and bus terminus, which had become an eyesore.

Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said the upgrade will make the popular market and bus terminus more user friendly for both commuters and transport operators.

“We will be starting very soon with the facelift of the market. So far, we are only waiting for the contractor to go on the ground. What we are expecting to do first is to resurface the tarmac, install boom gates and sheds as well as installing proper lighting,” he said.

The facilities have not had a facelift for years, resulting in as some parts of the market and rank becoming no-go areas because of the high prevalence of thugs.

In 2016, the city fathers approached the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) to undertake a financial and investment analysis of the redevelopment of Mbare Musika to include refurbishing the terminus, market and developing a shopping mall.

While IDBZ noted that a proper and appropriate business model for Mbare Musika would be financially viable and sustainable, without the need for additional land to subsidise the project, it also made sobering observations for council.

The bank observed that the project did not have a properly defined concept and that there was need for pre-feasibility and feasibility studies.

It also pointed out that council had erred when it involved external parties without clear project concept and the requisite studies.

Meanwhile, council will spend $55 million on road repairs and maintenance in and around the city.

The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has disbursed about $13 million towards the programme, with the $42 million balance coming from council’s coffers and the ministry of Finance.

The exercise, according to Chideme, will result in roads targeted for the repairs being cordoned off for the duration of the repairs.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni is, however, lamenting poor funding from Zinara.

He said since Zinara took over vehicle licensing from council, HCC has only received a fraction of what it requires for proper repairs and maintenance works.

“If we just look at the figures, taking away the sentiment and politics, the facts show that we have an obligation to only deliver one tenth of what we are expected to do.

“We require $40 million from Zinara every year but we have not received that in total since they took over,” he said.

The city’s road network has become an eyesore with many of the roads riddled with potholes.

While giving oral evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe acting president, Tsungai Makore, said even if Zinara was to give council all the money they would have wanted, it would still not be adequate.

“Sixty percent of the money disbursed to local authorities normally go towards equipment hire. This is why we are calling for a special allocation of resources to local authorities to ensure that they can equip themselves through some facility either duty free concession or allocation of foreign currency to ensure that we have equipment to service and rehabilitate our roads,” said Makore.

“There is need for local authorities to be capacitated in order to augment the contractors. Local authorities need to be funded in terms of equipment.

“The equipment that councils have is in a sorry state of disrepair and the $28 million allocated by Zinara to local authorities should be for purchase of equipment so that contractors can provide cheaper services if we provide the equipment. The contractors can provide other services to support what is already there,” Makore said. Daily News