Zimbabwe: Trench Warfare Headache for Council

The continuous digging up of trenches around the central business district (CBD) by telecommunications companies is raising concern as it is putting to waste investments put into the road rehabilitation programmes by Government and Harare City Council (HCC).

This is also posing an environmental hazard to motorists and pedestrians as the companies take long to fill up the trenches.

In an interview, HCC corporate communications manager, Mr Michael Chideme said council was disappointed with companies who are not environmentally-conscious.

"The City Council is not happy with these companies that operate around the city, we give them approval to do their work and we expect them to cover up the gullies within the agreed timeframe, but unfortunately these companies are not meeting up to their end of the bargain," he said.

Harare Residents Trust have also expressed concern about the matter saying the trenches are putting residents' vehicles at risk of being damaged.

"HRT is concerned about the increase in the number of uncovered trenches dug by both City of Harare and telecommunication companies", said HRT director Precious Shumba.

"In front of Jason Moyo Avenue and Sam Nujoma Street near Pick n Pay there is a huge trench crossing the road, vehicles have to slow down or risk bumping and damaging their suspensions", HRT said.

Mr Shumba also said that the situation is not only restricted to the central business district, but is evident even in the avenues where a lot of trenching has taken place.

"Around Montagu Shopping Centre, there are trenches that have not been properly covered, in Rugare, just in the intersection of Douglas Road and Lyton Road there is a trench that is unsafe for both motorists and pedestrians.

"In Waterfalls along Northway, there is another trench at Smuts Road".

The HRT urged the City of Harare to engage the telecommunication companies and impress upon them the need to adequately cover the trenches that they dig when they lay their cables across roads in Harare.

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