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No Change For Mbare Residents Despite Chiwenga's 2018 Promises

1 year agoMon, 22 May 2023 11:03:39 GMT
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No Change For Mbare Residents Despite Chiwenga's 2018 Promises

Despite promises made by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in 2018 for modern apartments with swimming pools in Mbare, nothing has changed for residents. Chiwenga said then:

We have a comprehensive master plan for the home industries and the Mbare hostels to the extent that wherever we reconstruct a block of flats, there will be swimming pools for children and kindergartens.

Mbare will be the first place that we are going to develop in Harare, and those that had relocated to Borrowdale and Mt Pleasant will come back to Mbare.

Mbare, including Matapi Flats, still faces challenges of overcrowding, poor water and sewer systems, uncollected refuse, and old homes.

The government and council blame each other, and rehabilitation work is yet to start four years later. Mbare has suffered from cholera and typhoid outbreaks over the past decade. Recently, two ministers toured the suburb, but swimming pools were not discussed.

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Mr Daniel Garwe, the minister of National Housing and Dr Sekai Nzenza, the minister of Industry and Commerce, toured the suburb this week but swimming pools were not on their agenda. Garwe told residents:

We will destroy these houses and build new ones with proper and working sewer systems. This place has over 3 000 people, but they are using the same toilet. The pipes can no longer service such a populace.

People are being forced to pay sewer bills by the council but no services have been done. The council is also making people pay garbage collection fees but there is litter everywhere.

Garwe, the Local Government acting Minister, stated that Mbare houses are no longer suitable for living. The ruling ZANU PF promised to construct 1.5 million houses by 2023, but it seems unlikely to be achieved. Garwe suggested last year that the number had been reduced to around 220,000.

Mbare is also a political battleground for opposing political parties.

A 2011 project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to renovate Matapi Flats failed due to opposition from the ZANU PF-linked Chipangano terror group.

Harare mayor, Jacob Mafume, has acknowledged the political challenges in improving the situation in Mbare. He said powerful political blocks can physically block efforts to remodel and renew the area, despite the potential to create an urban renewal program to improve living conditions.

Matapi flats have become drug dens and brothels. Over 200 families are forced to share one toilet and broken communal baths, posing severe health risks. The absence of clean water sources makes the situation worse, and residents rely on unsafe water sources for survival. 

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