2 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Chitungwiza Town Centre Now a White Elephant

CHITUNGWIZA Town Centre, which is owned by Old Mutual, has become a white elephant as most major shops and other service providers have since closed shop at the shopping complex.

Some of them have since relocated.

When it was officially opened by President Robert Mugabe in 1990, the shopping mall boasted of banking, retail and entertainment facilities, all meant to cater for a community that for years relied on Harare, some 25km away, for such services.

But two decades down the line, people of Chitungwiza have little, if anything, to celebrate, as there is barely any meaningful services still being offered at the mall.

Two of the country's major retail shops, TM and OK, have since closed shop and relocated to Makoni Shopping Centre, which has taken over as the town's new economic hub in terms of service provision and retailing.

Among the few companies that have remained operating are Econet Wireless, Stanbic, CABS, Multi-Choice and Zesa Holdings.

Some business operators attributed the relocation of their enterprises to Makoni Shopping centre to high rentals charged by Old Mutual, while others said the mall had become less reliable as water and electricity were constantly unavailable, making it unattractive to customers.

When Chitungwiza Community Development Network (CCDN) visited the mall last week, there was very little business activity, with public toilets shut down, although running water was available.

While making an enquiry with Old Mutual officials at their offices, CCDN met a visibly disgruntled 66-year-old identified as Mahiya, lodging a complaint on the state of affairs at the mall.

"I am an old person who knows his rights, I demand to know why Old Mutual is failing to provide toilets," said Mahiya. -- Chitungwiza Community Bulletin

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