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Chombo slams Gates Foundation housing project

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Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has described plans by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to build low-cost housing in Mbare as “preposterous” and not well thought-out after the Zanu PF shadowy Chipangano group scuttled the plans.

Chombo told reporters Harare City Council should have studied the proposal in detail before proceeding with the $5 million project, which has since been moved to Dzivarasekwa.

“That (project) is preposterous. Logistically, they (council) haven’t thought through it. They should have thought about where to put those people while they renovate the flats. The city should come out clear and say they don’t have the resources,” Chombo said.

“When you’re dealing with these things you have to be detailed. You have to first come up with an inventory and see how many people are there.”

Chombo said council should have approached government to get land for free for the housing project, found other players to bring in the technology and labour and built low-cost houses.

“We have 6 000 stands at Whitecliff which (National Housing minister Giles) Mutsekwa said they had given back to the local authority,” Chombo said.

Senior programmes officer for the Gates Foundation, Melanie Walker, recently dismissed attempts by Chipangano to dash the project as futile.

“Things do not go in the way you want, but we found that all the stakeholders are committed. It is a lesson that we have learnt. It is a process and we are willing to go and support the people,” she said.

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