Residents object to sale of Harare Gardens

HARARE - Harare residents have bitterly complained over the sale of Harare Gardens to African Sun (Pvt) Ltd.

The leading player in the tourism and hospitality industry wants to use Harare Gardens to develop ancillary hotel facilities.

Combined Harare Residents Association executive director Mfundo Mlilo said council did not consult the residents with regards to the sale.

According to the council’s finance committee minutes, two hectares of land stretching into the park and Les Brown Pool, as well as the space occupied by the car park will be sold to expand Crowne Plaza Monomotapa Hotel.

The minutes indicate that the development would link the current car park, pool, hotel and the National Arts Gallery.

Acting finance director Tendai Kwenda said African Sun was ready to start developing the area once all documentation had been finalised and is estimated to complete the project in 18 months.

“The recommended purchase price represented an open market rate of $80 per square metre translating into $1,760 million, taking into account that this was prime land,” read part of the minutes.

Mlilo said the sale was sprung on the residents and is a violation of their right to recreation and relaxation spaces.

“This will obviously affect the aesthetic and amenity value of the city and in fact has long term implications for sustainable and green growth.

“There is need to investigate and ‘follow the money’ to understand who are the real beneficiaries of this deal,” Mlilo said.

He added that there are contestations as to the money offered versus the actual value of the space and the need to preserve the park.

Mabvuku councillor Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi has been objecting to the sale of the park, arguing that it will deprive residents of recreational facilities.

He argued that many people use the park in between work breaks to get relief from the stress of everyday work.

The gardens are very beautiful and they are an ideal place for leisure, especially if you work in the city centre. The lawns and flowers are well-maintained, and there is a nice little pond on the north side of the gardens.

There is a restaurant where people are offered take away and seated service, and can enjoy the surrounding view while eating their meals.

There is a basic playground for kids, and ample space for them to run around and have fun in.

Also available in the Harare Gardens is a wedding venue, which is a stunning place to have wedding photos taken.

Clients are required to register for wedding photos at the Harare Gardens Office in advance.

In addition, Harare Gardens has a stage for performances such as musicals and dramatics, every year the Harare International Festival of Arts is held there and attracts many visitors to this popular event.

“This is not right your worship. We just cannot sell the land without carefully thinking through the idea. Residents will be disenfranchised by this sale,” he said.

Comments (4)

No $ value can be placed on urban green spaces. Istanbul had 6.4 sq m per inhabitant, and that is being steadily concreted over for mosques and memorials. The highest measures in a european city is over 80 sq m per inhabitant. Does Harare care what it has, or have any plan as its population expands? London has 35,000 acres of public green spaces, 40% of its surface area

John Banda - 15 July 2016

Vanhu vezimbzmbwe munedambudziko ndashama kuona pano pane comment imwe chete ndozvamunoita saka mai regera mugabe nezanu pf zvichitijairira.Uku ndiko kujairira chaiko kwave kuitwa ne Harare city council......kuita sei sei kutengesa harare gardens....zvambonyanya kuita sei ,,invester iyeye ngaatsvage imwe nzvimbo Harare gardens is a no go area,,,,MR editor take this note to those people in harare city council kuti its that decision people do not want....if they procides selling the place will be condemned...we will mobolise all harare resident to block this fackie decision.This is rest place travellers to makombe passport office, its a study area for students from local colleges,,,its just a recreational facility ,,,a place for all of harare residents,,,can I ask are these un learned corrupt city council bosses aware of global warmming.....we need clean breathing fresh air from this green vegetation.......stop this madnes stop

dofo - 15 July 2016

oh please! STOP IT!whatdo we tell or grandchildren about the history of Harare?wish i could go on and know what,it would be a great idea if AFRICA SUN would sell its shares to Harare residents!

tribesman - 15 July 2016

Immediate boycott of this company's products called for. If they are so irresponsible they must not be in existence.

tiki - 16 July 2016

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