Harare City Council has been accused of being too slow to cut the grass growing in public spaces across the city. The subsequent lowering of visibility makes life easy for muggers who prey on pedestrians and creates a critical blind spots for motorists trying to turn corners.
Areas such as Kuwadzana, Dzivarasekwa, and Mt Pleasant Heights have seen muggings take place in broad daylight, and the robbers escape into the tall grass without a trace.
In response, some residents have taken matters into their own hands and used personal funds to hire grass cutters.
Tendai Marima of Kuwadzana called on local authorities to be proactive when it comes to grass cutting considering that the rainy season is a regular and foreseeable event. “Something has to be done because you cannot walk through some areas. We are forced to take longer routes to avoid being attacked by robbers,” said Marima.
Motorist Samson Mhlanga who resides in Prospect says driving from Seke Road to his house is a nightmare as it requires extreme caution due to tall grass that has not been cut since January.
“A combination of maize fields and tall grass is the major problem and we have to be extremely cautious when driving because tall grass has been responsible for head-on collisions in some instances,” said Mhlanga. He added that numerous cases of muggings have been recorded in his area.
Though City of Harare eventually managed to cut the grass along major roads leading into the central business district (CBD), this bit of necessary maintenance took place too late. Many residential areas have not been attended to at all and it seems as though council are only concerned with improving the image of the CBD while ignoring residential areas.
Harare Residents Trust Director, Precious Shumba, called on City of Harare to be serious and ensure that what needs to be done is done and is done on time.
“They should plan in advance because every rainy season grass has to be cut. There should be no excuses,” said Shumba.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO Karikoga Kaseke recently labelled Harare the dirtiest city in Southern Africa. “All roadsides in Harare have been buried in tall grass and you wonder what kind of a council you have that cannot even cut grass along the roads,” said Kaseke.
Image: Uncut long grass hinders drivers’ views and are excellent hideouts for thieves.
Image credit: Carron Tambala