In a statement issued by the executive director, Dr Davison Todson Gomo, the AAG said: “Harare was and has always been reputed and respected for its good architecture supported by carefully developed city plans. What we are seeing and witnessing today is a process that is slowly killing our city and at the very least turning it into a massive squalor and dirty city.”
“The beauty that always characterised our city is now buried in streets permanently littered with waste paper, plastics and all kind of dirty throw aways you don’t expect to see in the country’s capital city.
“Harare City Council needs to understand that the city belongs to its residents and not to the city fathers who appear to be pursuing an agenda totally unconnected to the public.”
It said residents did not want dirty streets, pot-holed roads, flowing sewage and uncollected rubbish. This, it said, could be eliminated by stopping the mushrooming of illegal small shops.
“These small shops have led to a lot of congestion both in terms of human and motor traffic and leave the city vulnerable to serious disasters health wise and in terms of general civil defense. All open spaces must be developed in a way that does not compromise the quality of architecture and buildings befitting a modern capital city. Money, connections and influence must not be allowed to dictate or compromise policy. “
He said the fact that the CBD had been invaded by foreigners, mainly Nigerians and Chinese, was immaterial.
“We need to keep our excellent tradition of good and responsible city planning…we need action now.”
It said the lack of pride of its city by local residents had caused foreigners, who had no long term interest in the beauty of the city to turn large shops into small cubicles.
“While we are happy that people see us as a country that offers business opportunities, this has to be done in terms of existing regulations in order to ensure that we maintain a balance between competing interests.”
The AAG said street vending must be orderly and said those found littering the streets should be arrested and fined.
“Council needs to think carefully about creating proper structures for markets with good facilities where the public can buy all the goods that are being sold on the streets. Those not keen to work from the structures must simply be arrested and fined. We need to be responsible citizens who respect law and order, otherwise the city becomes extremely difficult to run and also to keep it clean. It is hard but there is no easy way out. The city is growing but a lot of imagination is required to keep it clean and reasonably functional.”
It said the city should have more recreational parks and decent shopping centres not tuck shops.