The City of Harare is the dirtiest capital city in southern Africa and the city fathers are anti-tourism, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke told the Daily News this week.
Kaseke said coupled with the dirt, most roads leading to high density areas from the city centre are potholed to an extent that motorists cannot negotiate their way.
“All sides of roads in Harare have been buried in tall grass and you wonder what kind of a council you have that cannot even cut grass along the roads.”
The ZTA chief executive who was recently awarded the Mega Fest CEO of the Year award had no kind words for the city fathers whom he said have also neglected the newly-commissioned Airport Road in Harare.
“The government constructed us the Airport Road and gave it to us but what do you have now? That road is filling with litter…there is litter everywhere from where it begins to the airport. Some of the street lights are now not working.
“In other countries you find workers cleaning that road every minute, you need to visit other countries to see for yourself how things are.”
He added that the city fathers are always in other countries on business visits but they do not learn anything while there.
“They have been to Singapore which is by far the cleanest but they do not learn. Cities in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Malawi are so clean (that) you are amazed at the glitz. Kigali for instance is the Singapore of Africa.”
Kaseke said Harare was once a model city, hence the name Sunshine City.
“In the 1980s Harare used to be clean until 1985 when standards began to fall and in 2000 we had lost it completely.”
The ZTA chief said the country’s tourism will not bear fruits if Harare and Bulawayo are dirty.
“While we are doing all we can as ZTA to promote Zimbabwe as a touristic destination, the councils are pulling us down. No tourist will come to a dirty city and we become very emotional when we talk about this.”
He said he has inspected the capital city at night and has been disturbed by the litter scattered throughout the central business district.
“Let us not talk about politics because there is no politician who will encourage city fathers to manage such a dirty city. We need to put measures that can control littering.
“I have been in the city centre and the dirt there which is compounded by vendors is quite an eyesore and this will not promote city tourism at all — people are urinating everywhere as a result of our lack of planning as a city.”
Kaseke said there was also something wrong with Zimbabweans as a people as we love throwing litter everywhere.
“I took an assignment after I received complaints that passengers in buses travelling from Harare to South Africa were the major culprits when it came to throwing litter through the windows. I personally took a bus from Harare to South Africa and I witnessed passengers throwing litter all the way until we were in Beitbridge.
“Once we were at the border ready to cross into South Africa people in the bus started reminding each other that litter throwing was not allowed inside South Africa. And true, once we were inside South Africa no one threw litter through the window — it was packed inside the bus.
“I took a different bus back home and it was the same — no litter throwing while in South Africa but once we were in Zimbabwe you could hear people in the bus say, ‘ahh we are now back home we are free to throw litter through the windows’ and so they started throwing it out until we reached Harare.
Is Zimbabwe a litter basket?” Kaseke queried.