By Bulawayo Correspondent
GOVERNMENT and the Bulawayo city council have embarked on a vigorous facelift of some of the city’s dilapidated roads and infrastructure ahead of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Independence Day visit.
The main celebrations are being held in the second largest city for the first time since independence in 1980.
Mnangagwa is expected to preside over the celebrations, while the country‘s most supported football teams, Dynamos and Highlanders, are lined to provide entertainment at the annual event.
Government has hired several contractors to spruce up roads and facilities leading to the Barbourfields Stadium, the principal venue of the main commemorations.
The roads leading to the airport and state house have also been rehabilitated.
For the past weeks, city council workers have been busy putting up carriage markings on all major roads in the city, while some could be seen clearing weeds and litter along pavements and the roads.
Barbourfields Stadium and its environs have also been a hive activity during the few days. Last week an inter-ministerial committee tasked with organising the celebrations toured the stadium to assess progress.
The move by the government and council to spruce the city’s roads and facilities ahead of the uhuru celebrations have, however, received criticism from some residents who feel the roads and infrastructure should always be kept in good condition regardless of the head of state and government’s visit.
“This idea of trying to impress and mislead the President that Bulawayo has got good roads and other infrastructure when it does not is very dangerous. The President and his people should be able to have a feel of what the ordinary residents are going through. It boggles my mind that the city council has been failing to clear rubbish around the city citing fuel and transport challenges but all of a sudden they are able to get fuel and manpower to fix our roads just because Mnangagwa is coming,” said a Mzilikazi resident.
Another resident, Givemore Mlandu said he is excited that at least some roads have now been rehabilitated, courtesy of the independence celebrations.
“What is important, at the end of the day, is that I am now able to drive my car in a pothole free road. Before the rehabilitations, it was a nightmare driving along Barbourfields road. We wish, as Bulawayo residents, we could have more such national event even on a daily basis so that we also benefit from advantages which come with such big events,” said Mlandu.