SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE
The newly appointed Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Manicaland Province, Nokuthula Matsikenyere, has pledged to put the eastern border city on the world map through information communication technology marketing as part of efforts to attract investors.
Matsikenyere, who recently replaced the late Ellen Gwaradzimba, however, implored the Mutare City Council to work as a team and put political differences aside.
“I need to get the council’s videos and profile so that we put that on the world market, meaning that we are going to use ICT to market Mutare and Manicaland,” she said.
‘’I will bring in ICT experts from Harare who will do it for free and make the city great again. The other nine provincial capitals in the country are going to copy from us,’’ she said during a familiarisation tour of the civic centre.”
Matsikenyere said plans are underway to launch a Mutare and Manicaland website premised on marketing the city and the eastern region of Zimbabwe.
“’This initiative is set to start like now and with the relevant information that we already have we would be able to get the much needed investors, who would only need to punch a button and all they need to know about the city’s investment opportunities and that of the province is available there,” she said.
“These days, people are using ICT to advertise and that is what we want to do. We need to move with speed on this and [I am] grateful that I have seen a team that is proactive and dedicated to duty.”
Matsikenyere, however, decried some corrupt practises from some other public officials who abuse their offices for self-gain.
“I want to thank you for your resilience in clearing the city’s debts and it actually shows your commitment to work. With others, when in positions of authority they take that as an opportunity in council to grab stands, to take their children to affluent schools, but His Excellency is saying no to corruption,” she said.
Mutare City Council acting town clerk, Antony Mutara, told Matsikenyere the city was facing recapitalisation challenges which had led to the shelving of some capital projects dotted around the city.
Mutara said illegal land sales and unfinished development of residential stands by private land developers and cooperatives was a thorn in the flesh of the local authority.
He said lockdown owing to the Covid-19 had impacted negatively on the council as residents’ debt had also ballooned to over ZWL$400m.
“We have had budgetary constraints as residents and ratepayers are failing to pay their dues as a result of the lockdown, however we are embarking on a recapitalisation program to kick-start suspended council capital projects,” Mutara said.
“The Sakubva Urban Renewal had also received a knock as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown including the death of two key figures then town clerk Joshua Maligwa who was its committee’s secretary, Professor Munashe Furusa, its chair and Ellen Gwaradzimba, the provincial affairs Minister.”
The three who passed on due to Covid 19 related complications are set to be replaced in the Urban Renewal drive, which was officially launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Mutare last year.