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Chitungwiza scrambles for savior: Local company st...

Chitungwiza scrambles for savior: Local company steps up with smart city masterplan

Philemon Jambaya

Assistant Editor

 Chitungwiza Municipality, drowning in service delivery woes and lacking a proper development roadmap, is racing against time to meet President Mnangagwa's deadline for a masterplan.

Their last-minute hope? Local Prophet Walter Magaya's company, Wistmer Investments.

 For years, Chitungwiza has limped by without a masterplan, hindering proper town planning and resident services. Now, Wistmer has offered a lifeline – a comprehensive 10-year development plan that envisions a "smart and green city" for Chitungwiza.

However, the path to salvation isn't smooth. Sources reveal contractual disputes between the municipality and Wistmer regarding the masterplan and a water project. A crucial stakeholder meeting is scheduled for today, highlighting the urgency of resolving these issues.

 Magaya reportedly harbors concerns about the council's negotiation tactics.  Sources allege the council seems "punitive" towards a potential hometown investor, denying Wistmer reasonable incentives to recoup costs.

 The crux of the matter lies in water – a basic right often deemed commercially unviable by the private sector. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are meant to bridge this gap, with private entities taking on financial and operational risks in exchange for recouping costs over time.

 Chitungwiza's desperate need for improved water and sanitation infrastructure was tragically underscored by the devastating cholera outbreak that claimed countless lives. This, according to available documents, is what initially sparked discussions between Wistmer and the municipality last November.

 Back then, Chitungwiza wholeheartedly embraced Wistmer as a partner for the Smart and Green City Project.

A January letter to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority expressed the council's "unreserved" approval of the proposed PPP with Wistmer.

Will Prophet Magaya's intervention be the miracle Chitungwiza needs?  Time will tell if the municipality can overcome contractual hurdles and seize this potential path to a greener, smarter future


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