Leroy Dzenga Features Writer
Heaven has no known photographic image, but the artistic impression of what Harare imagines itself to be can stand a chance.
Maybe the analogy took it to high, literally, but City of Harare has a number of designs it believes will define its aesthetics in a few years to come.
The ambitious outlook, if executed, will make Harare one of the best visually appealing cities in the region.
Implementation aside, the city — in pursuit of its 2025 vision — has a few ideas it believes will change how its face looks.
High Glen Stadium
Harare is plotting to build a 45 000-seater High Glen Stadium in Budiriro, a high-density suburb in its south-western area.
The concept, which is almost similar to Villa Park in Birmingham, England, will not be a reality anytime soon.
Harare, which has been under fire for failing to maintain existing stadiums, says it is putting the plans on ice until existing infrastructure is in usable condition.
Speaking to The Herald, Harare City Council principal communications officer Innocent Ruwende said they have more immediate sports infrastructure priorities.
“We have shelved the construction of the stadium for now as we concentrate on rehabilitating existing stadia.
“We are working flat out to make sure Rufaro Stadium meets the required international standard, while Gwanzura meets the criteria to host Premier League games,” Ruwende said.
Experts, however, believe once the city has its present hurdle out of the way, it needs to implement the design.
Architect Oswald Mupanedengu, who has worked on similar projects in Cyprus and Botswana, said a stadium can change the fortunes of those in Budiriro and surrounding areas.
“The design does look fairly easy to execute even with local construction firms. The youth in the area are definitely in need of such facilities as they cultivate the sporting culture and a few who possess vocational skills might even get a couple of jobs during its construction phase,” Mupanedengu said.
Harare has committed to bringing the legendary Gwanzura Stadium back to usefulness in four months under their #munhuwesekugwanzura campaign.
There is hope, there is speed in the execution of the campaign, so there can be renewed focus on the High Glen Stadium project.
Shawasha Shopping Complex
Already in progress, albeit slow, Harare is converting an open space opposite Mupedzanhamo into a shopping complex.
Tentatively called Shawasha Business Complex, the project was initially pegged at US$30 million when it was first announced.
In 2018, Harare Town Clerk Engineer Hosea Chisango declared the shopping centre a nucleus which is going to kick-start development in Mbare.
Eng Chisango said; “We will also look at building houses, some flats in Mbare and other open spaces that are there. We are starting with Shawasha as a nucleus for the development.
“The developer that we are working with has already put up a billboard with the plans of the development in Mbare.”
However, the marriage with Consortio International Zimbabwe, the initial partner, failed to add value to the idea.
Harare is now searching for another financier.
“We are looking for a new investor for the shopping complex after the initial investor failed to meet agreed timelines. Once we get a new one, work will commence,” Ruwende said.
For now, the project — whose first phase including a flea market, car park and shopping mall was supposed to have been finished end of 2019 — remains on the drawing board; hopefully not into perpetuity.
City of Harare says they consider Mbare Renewal Project as a priority, hopefully they are not paying lip service as they sometimes do.
Economic corridor concept
Beyond the infrastructure, there is also a conceptual element to how Harare seeks to proceed.
They believe demarcating the city into function-specific commercial zones can help enhance its attractiveness, on a business scale.
City of Harare wants to come up with economic corridors.
These are integrated networks of infrastructure within a geographical area designed to stimulate economic development.
“The corridor approach for cluster development in cities primarily takes advantage of the existence of proven, inherent and underutilised economic development potential within the region,” said Ruwende.
It is hoped that once implemented, it will be cheaper to set up certain industries and businesses in these seven zones.
“Council has identified seven economic corridors within the city to propel Harare to Vision 2025 and help Government in achieving a middle income economy by 2030.
“The seven corridors are Enterprise, Avondale, Samora Machel Avenue East-West, Mukuvisi, Avondale-Second Street, Harare-CAZ Aerotropolis Export Processing Zone and Venturesburg Export Processing Zone.”
Ruwende added: “The development of the corridors has multiple stated goals, which include improving infrastructure, enabling exports, generating employment, closing the distance between home areas and workplaces and linking fast-growing nodes to relatively weak nodes.”
The concept is popular in Asia, but they are usually between countries, like the China-Singapore Economic Corridor which has businesses set up along connecting highways to ensure ease of trade.
Harare intends to implement the same concept within its boundaries, again, we await implementation.
Harare is the citadel of public transport chaos.
Buses, both long distance and local, act as if the law does not apply to them.
Harare, in the past, has launched repeated campaigns and strategies, but the madness has instead increased.
Now they are back with the latest attempt of modernising existing terminus infrastructure.
City of Harare is eyeing to convert Mbare terminus into a modern facility, another one is being mooted at the Ardbennie Infill.
Along Harare-Bulawayo Road, just after the National Sports Stadium, there is a new terminus being built as well.
All this is expected to ease the traffic madness in Harare central business district (CBD) which involves public transport.
This plan sounds rather ambitious considering the holding bay along Coventry Road is yet to be operational and has turned into a white elephant.
Mupanedengu said the proposed designs could be better. “Those are what we currently have and do not have space for more of those. We need progressive designs,” he said.
Council initially had set sights on becoming a world class city by 2020, but that was not to be, they ended up deferring to 2025.
The debate is open on whether or not they will meet their own set deadline, their track record is not as convincing.
The city needs to implement its set targets and improve existing infrastructure if there is any hope of beating the 2025 deadline.
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