PICS: Row over roundabout underscores Zim’s deep political divide

A row over a new roundabout shows the deep political divide persists in Zimbabwe, two months after disputed polls.

The roundabout on Harare Drive – the road that rings the capital – has captured public attention because of its interesting features, including blue floodlights that light up its centre at night, and the fact that it represents a positive development after years of neglect under former president Robert Mugabe.

Pro-government supporters say the roundabout has been paid for by state road agency – Zinara – therefore the government deserves credit; pro-opposition supporters say it was paid for by the opposition-led Harare City Council.

Caesar Zvayi, editor of the state-run Herald, tweeted a picture of a sign at the construction site that shows the construction was funded by Zinara.

‘A very low bar’

But in a statement ex-Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni confirmed the City of Harare “paid 100%” for its construction.

Writing on Twitter, MDC MP Chalton Hwende added: “The contractor who was involved in the construction of the roundabout on Thursday sent his invoice to the City of Harare. The invoice is there for everyone to see.”

As political parties haggled for proximity to this development, others found the whole thing rather bemusing in the light of Zimbabwe’s economic problems and recent cholera crisis.

“That this is actually viewed as development should worry us as citizens,” tweeted @ManasaNjanike. “We are setting very low expectations and the bar is literally on the floor.”

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