Government has set out to refurbish Mbare, Makokoba, Mabutweni, Iminyela, Mucheke, Mbizo, Rimuka, and Sakubva. The crux of the exercise will be to rehabilitate those neighbourhoods. The exercise will be bankrolled through the National Housing Guarantee Fund. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube recently unveiled a 2021 Budget Strategy Paper. In that paper that is where he announced that this exercise would be embarked on.

Professor’s Remarks On This Development

Here is part of what he said in the 2021 Budget Strategy Paper:

The housing strategy and programmes will integrate the refurbishment and rehabilitation of old residential suburbs such as Mbare, Makokoba, Mucheke, Mbizo, Rimuka, Sakubva, among others,” he said. Government prioritises housing infrastructure development in both rural and urban areas, supported by basic infrastructure and sustainable services. In order to improve the housing stock from a backlog of over 1,3 million countrywide, Government will recapitalise the Housing Fund and the National Housing. Guarantee Fund to ensure affordable housing and decent living for all. To achieve this, the Government will partner with the private sector to provide mortgages and other affordable financing schemes. It is a vital form of wealth creation as we move towards the middle class as espoused in our Vision 2030

Renovations Already Underway At Mbare Musika

The City of Harare has already issued a notice as follows:

Closure Of Mbare Musika Bus Terminus For Renovations And Temporary Use Of Alternative Pick Up And Drop Off Points

  1. The City of Harare wishes to inform the public that Mbare Musika Bus Termini is currently closed for renovations.
  2. Destinations not stated but fall on the same routes mentioned below will use the same pick-up and drop off points.
  3. The temporary ranks shall only accommodate buses with COVID-19 compliance permits.
  4. The City, therefore, implores travellers and bus operators to comply and take due care so as to maintain orderliness and the safety of the travelling public.
  5. Council has designated temporary pick up and drop off points for intercity travel as follows:

Temporary Terminus – S.V. Muzenda (Fourth Street Rank)

Destinations: Mutare, Mutoko, Murewa, Goromonzi

Temporary Terminus – Coventry Holding Bay

Destinations: Bulawayo, Mt Darwin, Bindura, Chiweshe, Shamva, Chinhoyi, Masvingo

Temporary Terminus – Mbudzi Complex Car Park

Destination: Masvingo

Temporary Terminus – Machipisa Bus Terminus

Destinations: Chiredzi, Beitbridge

The Significance Of This Initiative

One of the reasons why Mbare is being spruced up is because of the City of Harare’s vision. They are working towards achieving a world-class city status by 2025. Essentially that is the core reason why all the mentioned suburbs have been earmarked for rehabilitation. Politics aside, these are long overdue things – they are good for the livelihood of the people and the image of the Zimbabwean nation.

The significance of these suburbs to many Zimbabweans cannot be over-emphasised. Remember that most Zimbabweans earn their living from the informal sector. Mbare and the like are hotspots for informal trading activities – you find virtually anything at such locations. Thus if they are given a facelift operations will be streamlined and more structured. Come to think of it things had really gotten into disarray at these locations. Many of you know that some of the disease outbreaks such cholera would start from or be exacerbated by the poor sanitary facilities and conditions at these locations.

In the minds of many, a place like Mbare is looked down upon as a hotbed for dirt, crime and all sorts of vices. However, that place can be turned into a modern and highly structured marketplace. That place, just like the other aforementioned ones, is too significant to be left to crumble. Consider the fact that the bus termini converge people from all over Zimbabwe. Surely the location is very strategic for various kinds of legitimate business activities.

Once renovations have been done the next key thing would be to regularise and license traders and operations at these locations. There is a need to come up with a fiscal system that sees revenue generated from these locations being put to objective use. By objective use, I am referring to revenue being injected back into those locations. We now wait to see how things will turn out – the concept is noble but execution will be more crucial as always.