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Musician preaches smart cities, disaster alertness

By Gumisai Nyoni

Service delivery in most Zimbabwean cities is on a freefall. Most municipal authorities have over the years been criticised for failing to live up to expectations when it comes to regular garbage collection, clean water supply, and road maintenance, among a host of other critical provisions that make urban life sustainable.

Jairos Mutambikwa, a musician based in Mutare, recently released a single titled Mutare Ndeyedu, calling for a collaborative effort by citizens, especially residents in the Eastern Highlands city, to ensure they keep the city clean, while also advocating for the institution of disaster preparedness proactive measures, deriving inspiration from the effects of Cyclone Idai, which left a massive trail of destruction, mostly in Chimanimani and Chipinge, in March last year.

Mutambikwa, believes it is the role of artistes to partner government and all other stakeholders to improve the livelihoods of the majority, currently suffering from the effects of hyperinflation and general economic dereliction.

“I was born and bred in Mutare and Honde Valley, automatically resulting in my close attachment to these places,” he said.

“There are some positive developments I wish to see happening in Mutare in relation to improved service provision. We need to see well-surfaced roads, pollution-free environments and residents getting clean water.

“Considering we are situated at the border with Mozambique, the human traffic flow is also huge; hence, we need to uphold world-class standards that make our visitors and those in transit comfortable.

“In addition, if we manage to nurture smart cities, we will as well be positioned to attract investment. That is exactly my call through the song Mutare Ndeyedu.”

He added that his voice for clean cities would not only be confined to Mutare, but to all other cities across Zimbabwe and beyond.

The artiste is also working on a song on Covid-19, encouraging everyone to take precautionary measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic that has infected millions and claimed lives of hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe.

Mutambikwa did not shift attention from the detrimental effects of natural disasters, by working on several songs that call for disaster preparedness, saying the Cyclone Idai situation should be a lesson to policymakers. On these songs, which he intends to compile into an album, Mutambikwa is collaborating with Mozambican and Malawian artistes, Moises Maraquse and Brighton Angels respectively.

“I am partnering with musicians from Mozambique and Malawi — countries that have been constantly affected by floods, cyclones, among other natural disasters,” he said.

“The collaborations are targeted at regional audiences. I don’t want to confine my music to Zimbabwe, hence I roped in the Mozambican and Malawian duo. I chose these two countries because they have been prone to natural catastrophes for several years.

“I hope the message will be integral to assist those in positions of power to make decisions that can help save lives in the event of these calamities. Besides governments, we are also encouraging citizens to avoid settling in low-lying areas, which are highly vulnerable to flooding.”

Mutambikwa said musicians should take a leading role in awareness campaigns, as a well as advocacy campaigns to better lives of citizens.

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