PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe for the second year running yesterday snubbed a luncheon hosted by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and sent his deputy, Phelekezela Mphoko, who said nothing at the event.
by XOLISANI NCUBE
Before last year, Mugabe used to address the luncheon to mark the official opening of Parliament, but in the past two years he has opted to stay away from the function.
Last year, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mphoko had to make a brief appearance before they left the venue for the airport where they were seeing off Mugabe, who was flying to Malaysia on government business soon after officially opening Parliament.
Mphoko was yesterday without his counterpart Mnangagwa at the top table. He was accompanied by Kasukuwere and Harare Metropolitan Province minister Miriam Chikukwa, among other senior government officials.
The VP said nothing as he stood only to propose a toast to the delegates so that they could enjoy their lunch.
In his address at the luncheon, Kasukuwere said the collapse of Chitungwiza Town Council, which has seen property attached over unpaid debts and the absence of service delivery, was a result of unabated corruption and maladministration.
“Chitungwiza has collapsed due to rampant corruption and maladministration which in essence might be an indicator of what the sector is going through. The whole system requires a complete overhaul in order to restore efficient service delivery,” Kasukuwere said.
The dormitory town’s municipality faces paralysis after its offices were emptied by creditors and its workers have gone for than 17 months without pay.
Kasukuwere also said government had engaged Brazilian and Chinese companies to provide a mass bus system as it moves to push out kombis in the public transport sector.
“On urban traffic congestion, chaos has been and continues to be the order of the day in the capital mainly caused by small operators including kombis and small pirates taxis, the so-called ‘mushikashika’,” Kasukuwere said.
“Given the untenable situation, my ministry has engaged bus suppliers from Brazil and China with a view of introducing a mass bus system. The introduction of the mass bus system will gradually and naturally displace the current para-transit system.”
The Local Government minister also said government was contemplating introducing high-rising housing projects as a way of utilising the finite land available for urban development.
“Given the fact that land is a finite resource, the ministry has since adopted the densification approach to human settlement development in line with your call, Your Excellency.
“This entails vertical expansion by way of constructing walk-up flats to maximise on the available land and reduce the costs associated with offsite infrastructure development,” Kasukuwere said.