HARARE – Zimbabwe's capital Harare is facing an unprecedented increase in urban population that will pose new challenges in terms of water, housing and infrastructure.
In a stakeholders meeting held at Town House yesterday, councillor Christopher Mbanga said the only way to solve the problems facing the city was to address the burgeoning population.
“We are now planning for a certain number of people but come two three years’ time, we will be out of our plans,” Mbanga said.
Mbanga suggested that council build satellite cities.
Councillor Allan Markham highlighted that greater Harare, which includes Norton, Ruwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza, has a population of about 4,2 million people.
Markham highlighted that against the most recent national population census, one in three Zimbabweans stay in greater Harare.
Ultimately, he said, Harare was supporting this population and also has the burden of having to fund it.
“The only way to go forward is that central government will have to assist the city with a debt write-off and clear policy statement on how we progress as a city,” Markham said.
Councillor Enock Mupamawonde said the issue of overpopulation in Harare was symptomatic of a greater and deeper problem.
Mupamawonde said there was need to decongest cities by way of influencing policies and putting up structures such as Highglen and Westgate shopping centres in all towns.
“There is no need for people to come to Harare when all the services can be obtained from places like Highglen, the same for Norton and Ruwa, he said.
“This is symptomatic of the economic situation in the country. Unless and until this is resolved, attended to, then we will continue to have people who sell at OK stores because they have no other source of livelihood.”
In an earlier interview with the Daily News, deputy mayor Thomas Muzuwa said Harare council had been given more than 27 farms stretching all the way to Mazowe in order to accommodate the growing population.
With a population that is estimated to top five million by 2025, Muzuwa said farms will not be the only assistance to control the growing population.
“We are intending on developing the Kunzvi, Musami and Muda dams to cater for the population, we have over 27 farms given to the council by central government and with those three dams, we have to expand the city. Housing will not be a problem,” Muzuwa indicated.