That vehicular traffic in Harare has become untenable, especially during peak hours, is an understandable. It is now a nightmare, and this is one of the major challenges that the capital’s new mayor, Herbert Gomba, and his team, need to tackle head-on as a matter of priority.
It is a fact that many hours in production time are lost as multitudes battle to negotiate their way in the central business district. While the ongoing clean-up by the city authorities may have somewhat decongested some portions of the capital as illegal vendors were in some instances spilling onto the streets, blocking traffic flow, there is still a lot more that needs to be done.
This is the matter that the city fathers may not be able to deal with alone. We believe government should also chip in to help map the way forward because as the number of cars on the roads continue to increase, driving in the city will become virtually impossible.
Government could get a blueprint from neighbours Botswana and South Africa, which have done a lot in terms of constructing “Spaghetti junctions” — a term sometimes given to a complicated or massively intertwined road traffic interchange that is said to resemble a plate of spaghetti.
Such interchanges may incorporate a variety of interchange design elements in order to maximise connectivity to ease the flow of traffic and consequently minimise the number of accidents and loss of man-hours on the road.
Botswana’s Thapama Interchange in Francistown and South Africa’s EB Cloete Interchange in Durban are clear examples of what needs to be done in Harare to term the traffic jungle in the capital.
Current projects in Budiriro, Gaydon and at Mbudzi roundabout and elsewhere should speed up.
Clearly, new road infrastructure is the only way our Harare roads can become user-friendly. It is trite that for many years, no major road works have been undertaken within the country’s metropolis.
It is our hope that the current road projects are an indicator of the good times ahead. We abhor too much fighting and suspicion between central and local government as happened in the past.
We believe this is detrimental to development, and so we urge Local Government minister July Moyo and the new city management to ensure cordial working relations for the progress of the city.
It is unfathomable that the capital city has significantly retrogressed over the years due to unnecessary, but toxic political interference by past ministers.
Where central and local government can work together, they should pursue that with zeal. In many of the country’s suburbs, street lighting poles have become obsolete or no more than useless decorations as a younger generation of Zimbabweans have never seen them working.
Zimbabweans are aware that politicians may work against the development of the country for political expediency, but they love it in other nations hence they waste millions of tax-payers’ money on so-called foreign assignments with little or no significant value for our beloved nation.
These are some of the things that the local authority and central government need to focus on if our cities are to be modernised in line with international trends.