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City Council Proposals to Slash Maize Angers Harare Residents

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Maize is Zimbabwe's staple food.

Maize is Zimbabwe's staple food.

The Harare Residents Trust says it will seek an audience with city mayor Bernard Manyenyeni over reports that the local authority has instructed residents of St. Martin’s and surrounding areas to slash maize crops planted on unserviced council land.

Precious Shumba, director of the Trust, told VOA Studio 7 the council seems out of touch with the reality as Zimbabwe is facing a critical shortage of grain due to the current dry spell and some past poor crop seasons.

The council announced last week that residents, who planted maize on designated areas, must get rid of their plants as the local authority is planning to start servicing stands this week.

Shumba said the council should wait until the residents harvest their crops before it rolls out its project.

“We will not tolerate the high levels of insensitivity being displayed by municipal officials,” said Shumba.

He said that the council is now split into two sections, one belonging to local government made up of a few employees who are singing the government tune and, the other one that stands on the side of the people.

But Harare City Council spokesman, Michael Chideme, said it is not true that the council has instructed residents to slash their crops.

“It’s not true that we have instructed residents to slash their maize,” said Chideme.

“What we have done is to inform the residents of a program we are going to roll out in the area, which is to open roads, to open for sewer and for water.

“So all we have told the residents are we will pave way for the roads on some of the land that they have planted their maize.”

Chideme said the council will allow the residents to harvest their maize crop when it’s ripe, but adds that there is a very small portion that they are going to clear for road construction.

He said the council wants to service 234 stands in St. Martin's and areas near Catholic University and Airport Road.