3 March 2018

Zimbabwe: ZOC Seek Minister's Assistance

The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee have turned to Sports, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, to try and assist in bringing to an end their impasse with Epworth Local Board over the stalled project for the construction of the Epworth Olympafrica Centre.

ZOC, who received funding from the International Olympic Committee for the project, are now under immense pressure to get the construction underway for the centre, which has suffered a still birth for the last four years.

The project is the brainchild of one of Epworth's most illustrious sons, Musekiwa Kumbula.

Admire Masenda, the ZOC president, told The Herald yesterday that they were now going to ask Kazembe to engage with his Local Government, Public Works and National Housing counterpart July Moyo to find a solution to the impasse.

"We are now running out of patience as the Epworth Local Board continue to shift goal posts each time we discuss the matter.

"We are not making headway at all and that is so bad for us, we thought after they gave us the land they can now allow us to develop it but they are dragging their feet.

"The laid down procedures are clear and we thought they could understand where we are coming from and where we are going.

"We are now thinking it was better had we given other prospective towns the offer as it is us who are now being pressed by the International Olympic Committee to return the funds if we are not making any progress, so pulling out is not an option but rather to engage them and map the way forward," said Masenda.

ZOC have reportedly been given a three-month extension from the start of February to begin construction work on the site and with the first of those three months having already lapsed, Masenda's leadership are now feeling the heat as they need to get the project off the ground.

And ZOC had already secured $150 000 of the $500 000 pledged for the project.

The first Olympafrica Centre was built in Senegal in 1992 and was followed by the creation of the Olympafrica Foundation in 1993.

Such models are in existence in over 35 countries all over Africa and the Epworth project was set to be the first in Zimbabwe.

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