HARARE – Barely a week after the government declared Harare’s roads a state of disaster, roads leading to President Robert Mugabe’s urban and rural residences remain smooth, something that observers say shows that government is not showing the nonagenarian the whole picture.
Mugabe sneaked back into the country on Friday night from his annual holiday in the Far East, and left for Ethiopia the following day, but he hardly noticed the potholes, judging from the roads that he uses.
Hours before Mugabe’s arrival road works employees could be seen patching up potholes along the road leading to his residence in the posh suburb of Borrowdale.
“Stampede to fix the presidential motorcade route. Shocking. Why should this route get special attention? Wither ‘no money’? #FixOurRoads,” Fadzayi Mahere, an advocate who has been very vocal about the country’s state of affairs, wrote on her Twitter account.
The post was accompanied by a video of some of the men at work repairing the road. The Daily News also witnessed the work in progress.
The roads that 92-year-old Mugabe uses are in stark contrast to most roads in Zimbabwe which are potholed and have become every driver’s nightmare.
To his critics Mugabe is not only a failure but he is also the author of the country’s myriad of problems because, as the late nationalist and former minister Cephas Msipa once said, he is surrounded by liars.
“Mugabe is the emperor of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is his personal fiefdom. Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Administration) went into overdrive to repair Borrowdale road in the past few days to ensure that the emperor would have a smooth ride to his mansion. This is a dictatorship gone awry!” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere recently declared the roads in Harare a state of disaster, adding that they will engage other companies to speed up repairs.
“We will certainly write to the Office of the President and Cabinet and waiver some of the requirements because we have a state of disaster. We have not had sufficient funding in the City of Harare to look after the road infrastructure,” he said.
The roads in most urban towns have been rendered impassable as a result of serious potholes that have been damaging cars.
Local authorities blame Zinara for holding unto the money that is supposed to be used for road maintenance.
While Harare City Council expects between $40 million and $70 million per year in vehicle licence fees from Zinara, it is only getting an average of $1 million, town fathers say.
The road that leads to Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba is also smooth and ranks among the few that have no potholes and whenever any are spotted, they are quickly fixed.
For some people this just shows that Mugabe does not see reality.
“…saka prez vachizofunga kuti zvinhu zviri bhoo muZim (That’s why the president thinks everything is ok in Zimbabwe) @ProfJNMoyo @Hon_Kasukuwere hamuonewo kuti vanonyeperwa so (Do you not see that he is being lied to),” a Twitter user identified as Vachibhanzi said.
Another user also said Mugabe is divorced from the reality.
“He is made to think Zim roads are like the one he uses,” another user, whose Twitter name is Kelvin wrote on his account.