Feasibility of a world-class city

HARARE - Failure to plan is planning to fail, so goes an old adage in communication and motivation circles.

More often than not, we tend only to think of planning after making certain mistakes or in the midst of an action or programme. Many have a general belief that things can just roll automatically on their own.

Planning is the major custodian of crafting and having a vision. Harare  City Council which resembles the flagship of Zimbabwe by virtue of being the capital council has crafted a vision aimed at making it a world-class city by 2025.

To progressive optimists this means 13 years from now it will have nothing other than a world class city status.

It is against this backdrop that there is need to unpack the feasibility of such.

Zimbabwe has had a number of economic blue prints, strategic  plans and numerous policies among the plentiful strategies aimed at solving issues or problems.

Sadly our country has been good in crafting excellent policies but shelving them for the benefit of dust in various shelves for good.

In other words Zimbabwe still lacks the monitoring, evaluation and implementation culture in many respects.

That being the case should we all wait to see the collapse or rather Harare’s failure on the attainment of the world-class city status vision by 2025?

Politics aside, civilians’ participation, commitment and popular will has been  deficient for the umpteenth of time.

The civil society in any normal democratic society compliments other democratic forces in ensuring checks and balances as well as the watchdog role on central and local government’s exercise of power and service delivery but Zimbabwe’s case on this one has been rather strange.

Due to the recent decade of economic precipice civil society has mushroomed in Zimbabwe not for the ensuring of checks and balances mentioned but for the capitalisation on people’s tragedy.

Harare has not been spared.

Instead  of having lobby groups that should work directly with Harare City Council we have a parallel structure of civil society groups that compete with the local authority.

Non-governmental organisations which  have strong roots of philanthropy resting on the bedrock of voluntarism have become the most paying enterprise.

When push comes to shove such groups are nowhere to be found. They usually resurface or show up in the midst of crises such as cholera, typhoid,  erratic water supply and any form of poor service delivery proclaiming the failure of the council as well as its councillors without giving  alternatives in return.

But how exactly can everyone be involved in business of the council?

Is it worth a project to indulge in in the first place?

Civil participation is the greatest benchmark for the failure or success of any given local administrative programme.

Whilst lobby or pressure  groups are supposed to capitalise on this crucial role by enlightening  people that it is for the good of their city to participate in its activities, they are at the fore of encouraging people to abstain from engaging the local authorities constructively for the reasons best known  to them.

Through active popular participation by residents and rate payers the vision of the city becomes viable.

Harare was once rated amongst the most beautiful and cleanest cities in Africa and the world and to believe that Vision 2025 of making our city attain a world-class city status is impossible is like putting emotionalism ahead of rationalism.

We need to all have a sense of belonging and refrain from letting a few bunches of crooks being official spokespersons of residents’ plight.

Constructive criticism to the local authority is not only a democratic prerequisite but a vital cog in ensuring that council authorities don’t sleep on duty; but within our criticism let us desist from being political activists or aspiring councillors, we need to provide more  solutions than questions.

2025 here we come.


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