Zimbabwe: CBD Clean-Up - Restoring Legacy of Sunshine

Vendors in Zimbabwe (file photo).
18 September 2018

IN the wake of the cholera epidemic that has so far claimed 30 lives leaving thousands hospitalised, it is commendable that Harare City Council, with assistance from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, have given Harare's central business district (CBD) some relief by driving vendors out.

We also applaud the National Vendors' Union of Zimbabwe for supporting the Government and council's initiatives.

The clean-up campaign that started at the weekend has seen all of Harare's major roads breathing again, as the dirt that littered most of the streets especially downtown and along Simon Vengai Muzenda bus terminus has been cleaned up.

It is everyone's hope that this new-look Harare will not only stay, but will be improved upon through efforts by various stakeholders, including residents and visitors.

Harare, as the capital city should speak a language that not only is it the seat of Government, but it is also in sync with the pronouncements about the Second Republic's agenda of rapid economic transformation.

Harare is also the window through which outsiders have a view of the country -- be it political, economic, social, cultural, religious or otherwise.

Government cannot come up with a long term vision of creating a middle income economy by 2030 when things on the ground are saying the opposite.

We cannot also engage and re-engage with outsiders if the capital city gives the impression that we still need a number of lessons on local governance issues.

The mantra "Zimbabwe is open for business" shows that the Second Republic is ushering in a new era and Harare as the capital is central to the success of that. This means business for both locals and those doing foreign direct investment.

The level of vending in the CBD was contrary to Government's future plans. This is why we commend those involved for decongesting the CBD and ensuring that the city centre is clean.

Apart from the vending that was now being done everywhere, the CBD had already been pin-pointed as another health ticking bomb with catastrophic results for the country. Thus the clean-up was a better late than never issue.

We know that this was a difficult decision, but vendors have to also understand that the situation could not be allowed to remain as it was, especially when plans to revive the economy are top priority for the Government.

As for the responsible authorities, we are aware that as they travel to different parts of the world, they also see vendors, but they are not allowed to be a law unto themselves like what we have been experiencing.

Arguments proffered are that they come into the CBD because their clients can easily access them.

Not only did they put themselves above the law, but they also caused unimaginable congestion, at the same time promoting corruption in both council and some Government departments.

Since the just sworn in Cabinet started work, we are hopeful that they will go back to the drawing board, working with representative unions in order to come up with lasting solutions to the problem of making the CBD the epicentre of good governance and entrepreneurship.

As we applaud the clean-up done so far, we must also reflect that the First Republic started off with a decent infrastructure although it was not serving the whole population.

As Harare grew, we realised that it did not have the desired carrying capacity. Not only that, that infrastructure had a life span.

Moving on, the Second Republic has a responsibility to build infrastructure that is not only sustainable, but has a carrying capacity for a growing population.

This means everyone putting shoulder to the wheel.

Diseases like cholera have no place in the 21st Century Zimbabwe, so too the type of vending that was congesting the streets.

People should not start practicing hygiene because of water borne diseases. Hygiene must be a lifestyle.

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