Mayor Gomba counters Mnangagwa on Harare road repair claims

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By Audience Mutema

HARARE Mayor Hebert Gomba has dismissed claims by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration that the Zanu PF-led central government was responsible for the ongoing rehabilitation of roads in the capital, saying this was the responsibility of the local authority.

Gomba said this while touring some city road construction sites on Wednesday.

“The roads we are working on are municipal roads and are owned by council and the idea of roundabouts was developed by the city council engineers and basically I don’t see any reason why someone expects central government to be working on municipal roads. That has never happened,” he said.

The opposition MDC official’s remarks come after Mnangagwa and his government have claimed credit for fixing some roads in the capital which had become littered with potholes due to lack of maintenance over the years.

Mnangagwa was in June this year said to have ordered the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to take over the repair of roads in Harare and other urban areas after “systematic sabotage by MDC-T councillors running them”.

Addressing a Zanu PF Women’s League meeting June this year, Mnangagwa said the resurfacing of city roads was through government.

“Most of the urban councils are MDC controlled and you can see the potholes, how our towns have deteriorated. As a matter of fact you can see now that there is a bit of resurfacing the roads here and there but that is not by the council, it is being done by the Ministry of Transport we have decided that they must intervene, this is what we are doing,” Mnangagwa was quoted as having said.

However, Mayor Gomba insisted the city has not abdicated its responsibilities to government.

“If the government comes in, they are coming in to support us, but definitely an agreement between ourselves and the contractor should be an agreement between the owners of the road and those whom we are contracting. Not anyone to enter into an arrangement without ownership of the infrastructure,” he said.

Harare roads were in January last year declared a state of emergency after most of them could not be trafficable due to potholes and lack of maintenance.

Gomba also said the city council was using its internal resources, especially the funds from the Aspindale Park to fund, for its road rehabilitation adding that the city has also acquired a loan from a local bank for the purpose.

Meanwhile, Mayor Gomba said that the contractors, Bitumen World (Pvt) Ltd will construct four roundabouts in Harare along High Glen and Glen Eagles; Arcturus and Harare Drive; Lomagundi and Harare Drive and in Budiriro.

Engineer George Manyonga, responsible for roads, also said, “next week, constructors will start to work on the Lomagundi and Harare drive up to Kirkman road in Harare. The budget of the construction is about $US1,8 million. The roundabout is expected to be much bigger than the Gaydon roundabout as it is going to be 10 meters.”

Bitumen World operations manager Chris Seager said, “the concept of the Harare Drive and Gaydon roundabout was adopted from Durban in South Afric.a. As Bitumen, we did not find any challenges when we were constructing the Gaydon and Harare drive roundabout.”

He also went on to say Bitumen adopted the Gaydon and Harare drive roundabout, they are to take care and maintain it.