HomeLocalVideo: Karen Mutasa’s vision for the city

Video: Karen Mutasa’s vision for the city

Entrepreneur Karen Mutasa (KM) is the face of the newly formed Harare Central Business District Development Association (HCBDDA) that seeks to restore the capital’s status as the Sunshine City. Last week she spoke to our reporter Xolisani Ncube (XN) about her vision and what is in store for Harare. Below are excerpts of the interview.

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XN: What is the Harare Central Business District Development Association and what are its objectives?

KM: Well, this is an association formed when we realised that the level of degradation in downtown of Harare was alarming and it was going to hinder people from going into the central business district to shop and having spent and invested a lot of money in the development of Joina City, we wanted to be able to create an environment that attracts people to come to the central business district (CBD).

But apart from that, we believe the outlook of the CBD drives and lures investors, as well as helps the city achieve its world class status by 2025.

It is a non-profit making organisation, there to work with all stakeholders with a view to clean our city and make sure it is attractive to visit and work in.

XN: What led to the formation of this association and kindly take us through the process that led to this.

KM: Initially, it was a project for Jason Moyo Avenue but because of high demand and the need to see the entire city clean, we decided to expand it to all areas of the city centre.

The idea of the formation is that the community that uses the city can be instrumental in bringing sustainable development to the CBD.

The uncontrolled presence of vendors, illegal public transporters, lack of waste management infrastructure and unacceptable noise levels from shops drove to the formation of the association.

We would like to work with city council and the parent ministry in finding a lasting solution to some of these challenges.

XN: How will the association assist the council to attain vision 2025?

KM: We believe the idea and thrust dovetails with the vision of the city centre and it will benefit the local authority.

We have invited the city council to become a member of the association and we are proud to say they have accepted. This means, the city council will directly give input on all projects and activities we will execute.

XN: What are some of the projects that you intend to work on as an association?

KM: We have detailed three projects, in particular, the public transport system. We have noted that there are small things that can be done to improve public transport in the CBD.

We will work with other associations, city council and the police on this. Order must be restored to the public transport network in the CBD.

We are also looking at pavements. City council recently fixed a lot of pavements that had become a hazard to pedestrians in the CBD. We believe more can be done.

We are also looking at waste management, so much has been done in this area but we seem to go nowhere. We would like to focus mainly on awareness programmes.

We also hope the recent move to fine litter bugs will be enforced and we will be talking to city council on how this is progressing. These are the three projects we would like to initially focus on.

XN: How will the association bring order into the transport sector that is causing chaos in the CBD?

KM: We think there is enforcement of by-laws that is required. We would also like to see commuter omnibuses go to a particular area, clearly labelled and given a route to a specific loading area.

We believe that the corporate sector can assist in this area as there are numerous benefits that can be unlocked with partnerships.

We also would like to introduce monitoring and public relations training for our public transport operators. Eventually, it would be nice to see commuter omnibuses carrying the mandated 15 passengers per vehicle.

XN: What would be your advice to the public and the business community at large?

KM: The key question is, am I part of the problem? And if you are, rectify it. What contribution am I making to the city?

Whatever we do, we need to view Zimbabwe as our only home and take care of it.

We must copy what Rwanda does, every month, everybody embarks on cleaning the city from the top to the lowest ranked person. This is what we want to happen.

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