Chitungwiza Mayor Cllr Lovemore Maiko (MDC-Alliance) yesterday showered praises on President Mnangagwa for spearheading the national clean-up compaign and visiting the town where he came face-to-face with challenges affecting the municipality.
The Head of State and Government officiated in Chitungwiza where he toured a waste recycling firm before getting his hands dirty in the business of cleaning in St Mary’s.
Mayor Maiko presented a myriad of challenges facing his council to the President, chief among them a critical shortage of water and refuse collection trucks.
“Your Excellency, allow me to thank you and everybody gathered here for making this clean-up awareness campaign a huge success. While this is a responsibility field day, for all of us, it is a moment we have gathered to create awareness on waste management in our municipality.
“I would like to thank you, Your Excellency, for actually visiting or experiencing first hand or coming to the fore with some of the challenges that we grapple with on a daily basis in Chitungwiza,” he said.
“We are appealing to your esteemed office and I am glad that you have actually invited me and I will make use of that opportunity. I will take the opportunity to say out all the challenges we are facing in Chitungwiza.”
The mayor also complained of water challenges and said the town did not have its own source.
“That is why are we are appealing to your highest office that we have a project that we have lined up — the Muda project. We need your support to ensure that this project comes into fruition in our lifetime. Thank you, Mr President,” he said.
President Mnangagwa had taken umbrage at Chitungwiza over perennial water shortages which are affecting residents and production in nearby industries.
The Head of State and Government took a swipe at some Government officials for not taking part in the national clean-up, saying they did not deserve to serve under his administration.
Yet President Mnangagwa struck a note of accommodation, inviting the mayor — who is barely two months in office — to approach the Government for assistance.
“The challenge they presented to me Cde Mayor is that they are getting water twice per week,” he said.
“I don’t know the reason. I appeal to you Mayor, because you haven’t appealed to me, to find a day when you are free and come and sit down with me and present your challenges. What we can do to end the crisis we can, what we are unable to do we will tell you. Don’t just be quiet because if they were getting enough water every week, they would produce and employ more people.”
He urged council officials to find sites where residents can deposit their garbage before it is collected by refuse trucks.
Mayor Maiko welcomed the President’s invitation, admitting that the municipality was failing to deal with water shortages.
“The issue of water is something critical in waste management, Mr President,” he said.
“Chitungwiza, with its population of around 400 000 people, does not have its own source of water. That’s why we are trying to appeal to your highest office. We have a project that we have lined up and we need your support such that this project comes into fruition. Since you have invited me, I will be knocking on your door.”
On Government officials not taking par in the clean-up campaign, President Mnangagwa said: “Before I came here, I checked in some Government departments and saw some seated, forgetting that the President has said every first Friday of the month civil servants should come out and clean their surroundings. Vanga vakatogara zvavo kuti tekeshe. I said let me go because you don’t want to be clean but as someone advocating cleanliness, I foresee myself remaining in Government with those who want a clean environment.”
President Mnangagwa urged more companies to emulate waste recycling being done by Flysterv saying such projects were reducing the country’s import bill.
“This excellent project besides helping to clean our cities and municipalities is giving jobs to our people at household level,” he said.
“Our people can pick up waste, bring it here and earn some income. Beyond that, this factory processes waste into new products which again reduces our import bill. I am glad that this technology has come to Zimbabwe. More companies should venture into this business and spread across the country.”
He urged people to continue embracing the monthly clean-up, saying Harare had transformed immensely owing to the programme.
“It doesn’t mean it is Government but it is because of those people who have heeded the call to clean our environment,” he said.
President Mnangagwa was accompanied by Ministers Prisca Mupfumira (Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Owen Ncube (State Security) and Obadiah Moyo (Health and Child Care).