Political Reporter- Simba Moyo

Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated the government and local authorities for turning a blind eye to critical services, only to haphazardly hasten into action when visitors are expected.

Speaking at the launch of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (IYSTD), at the Harare International Conference Centre, yesterday, Acting President Mnangagwa, tourism thrives on good presentation and visitors’ perception of the destination, hence the need of maintaining a clean environment all the time.

The acting President said it is worrying that the country has been swallowed by a bad customs and tendencies of shunning hygiene by entertaining dirty, amid similar environments within their homes and workplaces.

Mnangagwa said service provision such as maintaining the roads, refuse and proper waste management should be prioritised at all times, as this is the facet for sustainable development.

“The country should always strive for cleanliness, one of the most critical ways to market the country as the destination of choice for visitors.

“Embrace cleanliness at all times, and shun the culture of only sweeping your homes and surroundings when you are expecting visitors,” he said.

Be that as it may, the government and local authority has been swallowed by a bad tendency neglecting critical infrastructure such as roads, cleaning, and/ or grass cutting only to do so when VIP visits are expected. This has left most towns turning into shadows of former selves, with public infrastructure falling into state of disrepair.

This tendency was recently exposed for everyone to see, few days ago, when President Robert Mugabe visited Marondera as he kicked off his tour to meet the country’s youths, his visit saw the town getting cleaned, with roads have been graded and resurfaced, so as to present a better picture to him that all is well.

This was not the first time either, the government had previously did the same,and made a smoke screen to present a good picture, ahead of his visit, when he travelled to Matopos for his birthday few months ago, the visit also saw town having a facelift ahead of him.

In that regard, Mnangagwa implored the country to be always on its toes when it comes to sustainable environment utilisation and cleanliness so that it fully benefits from its tourists resorts, he said a cleaner city markets itself, and stressed the need for behavioural change on littering.