Elizabeth Andreya Features Writer
President Mnangagwa is right. His call urging Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba to order owners of buildings the capital’s Central Business District to repaint their buildings will certainly enhance the buildings’ aesthetic value.
City by-laws provide that every building in the city must be painted and decorated at least once every two years or so to improve the beauty of the city and the maintenance of health standards.
Laws are also there to enforce this.
Harare, being the country’s commercial hub, needs to ispruce up its image to attract more tourists and investors.
The city is working towards regaining its “Sunshine City” status and wants to be a world class city by 2025 but this cannot be achieved if owners of buildings don’t heed the President’s call to give new life to the city’s environs.
Most Harare buildings are in a sorry state and are in need of rehabilitation work, including painting, new roofs and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
The city needs to carry out a major evaluation of the condition of city buildings and come up with recommendations for rehabilitation.
A drive around the city shows most buildings need a new coat of paint, stabilising the masonry walls, patching the floors and fixing leaking roofs.
Most city-owned office buildings are atrocious and in a deplorable state. Its not surprising that some high rise buildings have experienced massive disinvestment as people moved to suburban areas when there are better structures and environs.
The disinvestment in these buildings and other city assets has occurred over the last decade.
Most of the city’s landmark buildings are in a shocking condition and the President’s call, if heeded by all, will help to bring them up to contemporary office standards.
“Your Worship, Cde Mayor, look at the beauty of this building,” President Mnangagwa said, referring to the new imposing structure now housing the Labour Court, during the commissioning of the building along Rotten Row, next to the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
“May you insist that those in business in your city uplift the buildings by repainting them.”
In most cities across the world painted buildings with bright, highly visible paint and a cleaner environment are a major drawcard apart from the ease of doing business.
Travel experts all confirm what the President is calling for. They say well painted and decorated buildings are what inspires many people to travel and modern tourism in general.
By-laws are there that compel property owners to keep their buildings refurbished and painted at all the time.
Its just enforcement that is lacking.
Building owners are just interested in making profits from rentals while doing nothing to improve the aesthetics of their premises.
Some buildings within the city have grass growing on pavements and the roof.
This shows negligence on the part of the owners of the buildings.
Some of the buildings are historic and they need proper attention and maintenance to preserve history and for tourist attraction.
Looking after old buildings correctly ensures that its historical value and interest is retained and that it remains an asset to the area. It also plays a significant part in ensuring its financial worth is maintained and increased.
The business community should heed the call by the President to give a facelift to their buildings as painting and improving their environs can enhance their corporate image and branding too.
Let’s support the call made by the President to keep the city clean, healthy and beautiful.
Exterior maintenance of buildings makes businesses look more professional. It also protects buildings against degradation and ensures regulatory compliance and helps in creating a beautiful city.
It is also important to keep on supporting the President’s call on the monthly clean-up campaign as this is the best initiative to make the environment a better place for all.
President Mnangagwa has been a leading light in the clean-up campaign and the nation must rally behind him to help the country meet its SDG targets on the environment.
His works must be lauded and embraced as widely as possible.
It is worthwhile to note that ever since the President launched the clean-up campaign, schools, companies, institutions and universities have all ratcheted up clean-up exercises in various parts of the country.
In many ways, the President’s clean-up campaign has fostered a spirit of oneness, patriotism and love of the environment.
The seed planted by the President is yielding good fruits as more people make cleaning up the environment part of their life. All we need to do is to embrace his call and play our part.