What went wrong at City of Harare?


Taurai Togarepi
Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, was founded decades ago by the Pioneer Column and is the most populous city in the country.

The authorities at the once sunshine city have been blundering for a very long time taking residents for granted and making poor policies.

Recently they carried out an ill-advised campaign together with their parent ministry; Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, which unfortunately resulted in the loss of lives of innocent people.

The management at City of Harare (who were in this case the executioners of the strategy, never mind who gave the order), failed to plan accordingly to cater for growing population and provide the necessary infrastructure.

There is need to revisit many areas including water reticulation, sewer, roads etc. The results of these still births policies is a sign of lack of foresight. The infrastructure in Harare is not adequate to cater for the population in the city.

The truth of the matter is the relocation of the commuter omnibus and pirate taxis is not the panacea to the problems bedevilling the city. There is need for paradigm shift in the thinking at Town House.

There is need to remodel the commuter omnibus ranks in town for example at Fourth Street. The City of Harare should look for investors who have deep pockets who can invest in modernising the public transport system for example constructing two to three story buildings, which will accommodate more commuter omnibus and vendors in the same place. The commuter operators will pay a parking fee, for example, of a dollar each time they use the rank and proceeds channelled towards paying off loans.

The President is on record saying the “voice of the people” is the “voice of God”. Unfortunately, City of Harare authorities seem to miss this as they are enforcing their ill-advised strategies without listening or consulting with the concerned parties.

When the Minister of Finance and RBZ Governor prepare the fiscal and monetary policies, they carry out wide consultations with various stakeholders to gather their views before pronouncing such polices. Why is it that the City of Harare thinks they have better ways of doing things?

Something has to be done, this has gone too far and residents are getting a raw deal and this is the reason why some residents decide not to pay rates.

Though I am not saying this should be encouraged, residents should pay their rates on time. Even the Bible says, give Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser.

The idea to de-congest the city is noble but the way it is being done is wrong. The few that are fortunate to have jobs spend on average of $1 to $2 per day on transport.

The City of Harare wanted to add an additional cost of $0,6 per day, which is huge considering that the economy is not performing well and most people can barely afford basic foodstuffs. If one closely looks at the costs of this decision, they are both economic and social.

In other countries, the public system functions properly even in countries which use commuter omnibus. City of Harare should concentrate on ways to modernise the city.

Most parts of Harare especially down town look deserted. The drainage system is very poor and burst pipes are the order of the day. The above arguments clearly show that, more needs to be done as opposed to concentrating on small issues that can be addressed without making a meal out of it. There is need for a substantive Town Clerk at the institution to properly manage the affairs of the institution.


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