By Mirirai Nsingo
Its “business” as usual for Mundevere, as she goes about her day to day “house chores” at her new found home at Wimpy First Street.
Mundevere, a woman of questionable cerebral integrity, resides at the former “Wimpy sitting area” where she even makes fire, cooks and has made the place a “comfortable home”.
It’s people like Mundevere, who are giving the Harare City Council sleepless nights in their quest to revamp Harare and let it breathe again.
Following the plea by Saturday Herald last week to bring back Harare and her long lost lustre, Harare City Council corporate communications manager Michael Chideme admitted that they faced a mammoth task to revamp and bring back the city’s Sunshine status.
Chideme says it is people like Mundevere and more other mental patients and destitute vagrants who may otherwise not be mentally challenged around the city that have found and established a home in various corners in the central business district who have not made it any easier to “bring back Harare”.
He adds that they have already engaged the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare over such cases: “I’m sure you appreciate that the woman is of questionable sanity so we have already engaged the relevant ministry so that we find a lasting solution for issues concerning mental patients and destitute people staying in the city of Harare.
Many had wondered why action had not been taken to remove the woman after the story last week. After all it does not take a United Nations Security council emergency meeting to pass the simple removal of pots, tins, boxes, firewood, plates and a vagrant from the absolute heart of the city.
Nor does it threaten world peace to remove her!
Chideme had an answer.
“As you know, this issue falls within the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and we believe this engagement will help us come with a lasting solution.”
“We are in the process of making Harare breathe again,” said Chideme.
He added that while they were not taking it any lightly that cases such as Mundevere’s were choking Harare, as Harare City Council, they cannot handle this case alone without involving the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
Chideme argued that indeed the city had a mammoth task to make the city breathe again adding that Harare was open for business while assuring the investors that they will be rewarded with a reciprocal preservation of an enabling social environment.
“Local Development Plan 22 touches on issues to do with the ambience of the central business district. We are looking at issues to do with land use within the central business district, to see that all space is adequately used while make sure that people are removed from undesignated areas.
“We also want to see mixed use of buildings where we can have the same building having business and residential space, once this is done, this will also address issues of congestion.”
Chideme added that they intend to revamp old buildings in the city and replace them with high rise building that will have more space while depicting the city’s Sunshine status.
“The city’s thrust dovetails into the government’s open for business policy. If local investors can come forward and help revamp the city, they are most welcome.
“Be it local funding, local investor partners or foreign investors, they are all welcome.”
“Indications are already there that we are going to get investors. Urban renewal in the central business district is key as this will contribute towards fiscus through employment creation.
“We are also in the process of talking to private building owners so that those that can converted to accommodate the informal sector do so, this will in turn make the city breathe again.”
Meanwhile Mundevere’s place is still open for business-she continues to cook in the heart of town and has even added a few more rooms to her mansion. Dinner with Mundevere anyone?