Zimbabwe: Govt's Promise of 1,5 Million Houses Remains Pie in the Sky

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, who this week promised that government would soon roll out a new rural housing development plan that will result in the building of strong and durable houses, is so far failing to deliver on his 2018 electoral promise to construct 1,5 million houses in five years.

The Zanu PF government's pledge to build 1,5 million houses between 2018 and 2023 is so far proving to be pie in the sky, given that early targets have already been missed.

Mnangagwa announced the development plan during a tour to access the damage inflicted by Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani on Wednesday.

In its 2018 election manifesto, Zanu PF promised to construct 1,5 million housing units, translating to 300 000 houses per year, or 25 000 a month, 6 250 a week or 822 houses a day.

The government has however failed to launch a single vibrant home-construction scheme, resulting in the country's housing backlog -- estimated at 1,3 million -- showing no signs of declining.

Before the ambitious pledge, and soon after ascending to the presidency following former president Robert Mugabe's ouster in a military coup in November 2017, Mnangagwa had also promised to deliver 400 000 houses in his first eight months in office.

A ministerial taskforce headed by Local Government minister July Moyo was set up to spearhead the project. The houses have, however, not been delivered.

Both government and Zanu PF were evasive after being asked by the Zimbabwe Independent on progress that has been made in constructing houses for citizens.

Contacted for comment, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said he could not talk about anything else besides Cyclone Idai which has killed over 100 people.

"How can you ask me that when we are in the middle of a disaster and people are dying? You want me to shift my focus from here? Can you get in touch with the ministry? I'm dealing with the cyclone disaster," said Moyo.

Principal director in the Local Government ministry Retired Colonel Joseph Mhakayakora referred the Independent to the National Housing director, Lexton Kuwanda

Kuwanda told the Independent to book an appointment with his secretary but he was subsequently unavailable.

"Book an appointment with my secretary, she will tell you when to see me. I do not just dish out that information over the phone. How do I know I'm not talking to a ghost?" he said.

Kuwanda's secretary asked this reporter to collect data on Wednesday afternoon but later said her boss was unavailable.

Local government minister Moyo was unreachable.

In the 2019 Infrastructure Investment Plan drafted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the government announced that it would invest US$264 million in residential housing construction.

The government announced it would devise a financing strategy to provide low-cost serviced land for housing development in partnership with the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe and the Urban Development Corporation.

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