Four issues that bothered Bulawayo residents in 2023

Bulawayo faces perennial water problems as the population in the city continues to grow while depending on a decades old water supply system.


TODAY in the year 2023, Bulawayo residents continue to face the same problems that have confronted the city over decades.

The City of Kings and Queens is today grappling with a plethora of unfinished projects, notably the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project which was officially commissioned by former president Robert Mugabe after a lot of background work by the late vice president Joshua Nkomo.

The city is still in the throes of fleeing or collapsing industries, decaying infrastructure that has outlived its lifespan, general urban decay and debilitating water challenges that are clearly rolling over into 2024 as the city’s rotten identity.

As if infrastructure decay were not enough, the city’s pavements and streets have been invaded and taken over by an army of vendors, some of them travel all the way from Harare to peddle their wares, including tomatoes on the streets of Bulawayo.

City fathers have made official acknowledgement that Bulawayo has become one of the dirtiest urban centres in the country.

They blame littering caused by illegal vendors.

Below is a list of nagging issues that were on the lips of most Bulawayo residents in 2023.

Egodini Mall

The Egodini Mall project was mooted sometime in 2012, but to date it remains a pipedream though there has been some noticeable progress of late.

Council sometime in 2016 contracted South African developer, Terracotta Trading PVT Limited Company, to redevelop the once busy terminus into a mall.

In February 2023, council promised to open the facility to informal traders and commuter omnibuses giving themselves a delivery deadline of February 17 this year.

Needless to say, they failed to meet the deadline.

Over 500 vending bays are currently under construction at Egodini Mall.

The project has taken almost nine years to be completed.

The delay in the completion of the project has irked residents, stakeholders and beneficiaries who have called on city fathers to cancel the Terracotta tender.

However, on December 14, council started allocating vending bays to registered informal traders at Egodini Mall as the first phase of the project nears completion.

Just this month, council announced that the opening of the vending bays, which had been planned for this past week had been postponed to next year.

Water challenges

Bulawayo faces perennial water problems as the population in the city continues to grow while depending on a decades old water supply system.

On December 14, council introduced a 120-hour water shedding regime up from 72 hours as the crisis deepens with the city’s dams said to be less than 44% full.

The MZWP, which was first mooted way back in 1912 and is touted as the panacea to the city’s water problems, appears to be nowhere close to completion.

Bulawayo city gets its water from six supply dams located in the arid Matabeleland South region.

Influx of vendors

Another challenge that Bulawayo faced in 2023 was that of the influx of vendors.

Reports indicate that some of the vendors were allegedly brought into the city from various places by Zanu PF ahead of the disputed August elections.

Councillors have complained about political interference in informal trade business.

City fathers said political interference had crippled the administration of the city including restoring sanity and decongesting the central business district.

“The current situation in the CBD is a serious cause for concern," council noted.

"Previously, all vendors were required to have relevant licenses and be on council marked vending bays.

“Vending was restricted to business hours during the day.” 


Another issue of concern in Bulawayo is that of the ever deteriorating roads. Bulawayo residents have expressed concern over the delay in mending city roads despite the city collecting 30% from the vehicle parking management scheme towards roadworks.

Tendy Three Investments (TTI) was awarded a US$2 million tender for vehicle parking management by the council last year.

In May, council banned what it called illegal road rehabilitation projects by individuals and private contractors who, without authorisation from the local authority, went out to do work on the roads.

In a notice to the stakeholders dated May 26, town clerk Christopher Dube said the City of Bulawayo was concerned about the proliferation of illegal roadworks in the city.

In October, council proposed a total of US$14 505 000 in its budget for roadworks.

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