BY JAMES MUONWA
Local Government minister July Moyo this week dispatched a commission of inquiry to determine the suitability of Chinhoyi being bestowed city status.
Town clerk Maxwell Kaitano confirmed the development, but imposed a media blackout, with journalists barred from the hearings which kicked-off on Tuesday and are expected to end tomorrow.
The town, situated 115km north-west of Harare, is the administrative capital of Mashonaland West province. The only other city in the province is Kadoma.
Sources said the commissioners met the town’s 15 councillors at Town House on Monday, before engaging various stakeholders since Tuesday. These included representatives of residents’ associations, civic organisations, churches, tertiary institutions, captains of industry and commerce, politicians, students, among others.
Chinhoyi Residents’ Trust, which is the only legally registered residents’ lobby group, welcomed the commission as the town guns for city status in order to attract investors.
Said the trust’s chairperson Peter Liwanda: “I reckon Chinhoyi Municipality has made strides in improving service delivery in the town. We envisage the awarding of city status will enable the council to augment its work. We applaud the town clerk and his administration for the good work.”
This is the second time Chinhoyi is applying for city status after its 2016 bid floundered. An assessment report at the time cited lack of basic infrastructure.
The latest bid by the municipality comes amid concerted efforts to fix dilapidated infrastructure such as roads and the sewer and water reticulation system.
During the week-long exercise, the delegation is expected to tour the town assessing municipal and ancillary services.
The town, characterised by old city centre properties, impassable roads in residential areas, illegal property developments, dry water taps, uncollected garbage, has had an exponential population growth since the inception of Chinhoyi University of Technology, resulting in council failing to provide essential municipal services.