A tower light that was at the corner of Chaminuka and Hombarume Drive was demolished to pave way for the construction of a service station opposite Manyame Park Complex.
The demolished fifty metre tall tower light has been proudly illuminating the surrounding neighbourhood for decades providing human and property security during the night.
The development has shocked and outraged residents who suspect corruption in the allocation of the public space for development in service station in a scam linked to the land baron phenomenon.
Chitownews contacted Chitungwiza Municipality Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mhonyera, who confirmed that the Municipality of Chitungwiza sanctioned the demolition of the prized public infrastructure.
Mhonyera said that the council was aware of development and demolition of the tower light saying “everything concerning the demolition was above board”, without further explaining what he meant.
He further promised that the tower light will be re-erected in the vicinity but gave no timeframe when this will be done.
The unprecedented development violates all tenets of town planning in Chitungwiza and has riled residents living in the vicinity who were literary left in the dark.
Tower lights decorate the urban skyline in Chitungwiza by day and provide the much needed lighting at night ensuring the safety of residents and the security of their properties. The fifty metre-long vertical steel structures are symbols of pride for the community and are synonymous with planned urban settlements in Zimbabwe as opposed to unplanned peri-urban settlements which lack such infrastructure.
When Chitownews citizen journalists visited the site, demolition work on the tower light was almost complete with most of the steel structure gone. Chitownews interviewed the workers at the site who confirmed that the area is being developed into a service station but they refused to divulge the identity of the owner of the new business stand.
Residents interviewed by Chitownews alleged that a politically-connected businessman had acquired the land on which the towerlight stood through land barons who are corruptly identifying public spaces and selling them as business or residential stands to unsuspecting members of the public.
“Corrupt councillors and municipal officials are destroying this town, fumed one resident who works as a vendor outside Mambo beer hall. We know who is behind the demolition of the towerlight,” charged the vendor.
Another resident who lives a few metres from the demolished towerlight told Chitownews that council officials in a Chitungwiza municipality branded vehicle visited and surveyed the land a few days before workers moved in to destroy the towerlight.
A 31 year old resident who lives in the area, Tawanda Marembo said, “As a Chitungwiza resident who lives in this area I do not understand why the council can support such a preposterous action which is totally and evidently against the welfare of residents.”
“The council is currently failing to provide good services like roads and a well functioning sewer system and now to make matters worse it is giving a helping hand to those who want to destroy the little functioning services our town has,” Marembo said.
“Honestly, what is more important, tower lights that will benefit residents free of charge or service station that will help the sewer system in polluting our land?” continued Marembo