THE Harare City Council has embarked on a multi-billion-dollar project to widen two roads which form a link to President Robert Mugabe’s mansion in Helensvale.
Major civil works have already started to widen Carrick Creagh and Borrowdale Brook roads which link the mansion to Crow-hill Road.
It is understood the project has not been discussed in council. Councillors who spoke to the Zim-babwe Independent were surprised that there was such a project taking place.
“I am hearing this for this first time,” said suspended Ward 32 councillor Last Maengehama. “I do not remember coming across that project.”
Suspended Ward 17 councillor Chris Mushonga, who was a me-mber of the executive committee, said council had no capital project on its books as government had not given it borrowing powers.
Councillor for the area Xavier Vengesayi last Wednesday said the decision to construct the road was not the product of a council resolution.
“I think funding could have come from government through the Road Fund,” he said. Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya referred all questions to the Ministry of Transport and Communications before switching off his cellphone. Council PR manager Leslie Gwindi did not respond to written questions sent to his office last week.
Engineers this week said the road could cost anything from $1,5 billion to $3 billion depending on the finish, the amount needed to repair private driveways affected by the construction work and relocating water pipes and underground cables. Construction of a tarmac road costs at least $80 000 per square metre.
Council has been struggling to raise money for water treatment chemicals and to repair damaged equipment. The precarious posi-tion at Town House has resulted in more than half of the city going without water in some periods.
The road works, covering a five-kilometre stretch, begin at the intersection of Crowhill and Carrick Creagh and then turn left into Borrowdale Brook Road where the mansion is located. The works appear to end at the intersection on Borrowdale Brook Road and Daimpre Road, about 150 metres from Mugabe’s gate.
The Independent visited the area last Wednesday where council earthmoving equipment and com-pacters were at work. Council has subcontracted earthmoving to a private company with blue trucks.
Mugabe’s oriental-style mansion has been under construction for over five years. It recently saw controversy when Mugabe said in an interview with Sky News that Malaysia had donated timber used in the construction. The opposition in the Malaysian parliament hascalled for a probe into the donation.
The area around Mugabe’s home was recently gazetted as a security zone.