Chitungwiza, a ghost of its former glory


By Tatenda ‘Gando’ Choto

A City which used to be a marvel to watch as its founders imposed the ideas that were to carry its ambitions as an independent dormitory town. They say “it is easy to destroy than to build, Rome was not build in one day”. Many who resided in Chitungwiza or have been there for the past decade agrees with the sentiments that things will never be the same.

Over the past decade the town of Chitungwiza has severely suffered from the government policies, greedy and incompetent officials who have bedevilled the smooth running of the city. Uninviting investor policies, barbaric clean up operations; corrupt and un-proportional settlements and lack of maintenance in all sectors complete a failed city Chitungwiza is today.

The industrial area used to absorb a decent population within Chitungwiza in just a decade ago. Companies like Con textiles, Modzone, Travan Blankets, Jaggers, Delta provided locals with a livelihood for their families and helped to swallow up the majority of the youths especially school leavers. The industrial area saved as a gate away from crime and indecent activity among the youth and many adults. To ensure that they give back to the community the Companies owned football clubs which competed in the amateur leagues for the spectators to enjoy and also for the local young stars to venture in and find a stepping stone to major leagues.

The St Marys Light Industries had its percentage that found it easy to indigenize and operate on small spaces whilst meeting the demands of their families and consumers at large. The light industries provided employment and social skills training for the youths within the local premises and abroad. The high turnouts in these initiatives brought salvation for most residents as needs and wants could be easily acquired from the “Dura wall” as they named it but it is no more because of the 2005 Operation Murambatsvina. Most forms of empowerment were developed especially in entrepreneurship, in fileds such as carpentry, welding, building, sawing, hairdressing among others.

The city owned one of the finest stadiums in the ghetto, Chemhanza were all the former local stars emerged who include Stewart Murisa, Alois Bunjira, Alois Godzi, Ali Kasim, Annie Konje the former Mighty Warriors captain and many other football legends. The recreational facility provided a platform for champions to emerge, realise and meet their potentials as scouts could come and explore talent.

The Aquatic Complex that was constructed for the 1995 All Africa Games is in a dilapidated state and has become a white elephant despite having a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts. The premises used to be a centre of attraction for the locals especially during summer time. The pools and the infrastructure offered the leisure for family and friends as the complex was stunningly designed to match a high profile exhibit. It is now a place for worshipping and musical concerts only despite it being a sporting facility.

All the mentioned vapoured in vain as if they never existed. Bit by bit the city is in the verge of further depression with the navigation wheel in the hands of corrupt and incompetent officials who value less the grievances of the residents rather they escalate their personal ambitions.

The Community is at stake, taps are running dry, public toilets and spaces are further closing, roads have developed dish holes, open spaces are being swallowed up by residential stands and sewage is bursting everywhere without maintenance.

Nobody dares to seek the resuscitation of the city and maintain order as the elected officials and the responsible ministries converge in siphoning local resources. Chitungwiza waits for the complete of its ditch and burial whilst the residents watch.   Though undermined in a vicious circle of events over the years, Chitungwiza has to mare through the ages and establish a great city that would capacitate its residents and the surrounding.