Cape Town – Zimbabwean ministers have approved plans to spruce-up old homes of pre-independence nationalists to promote township tourism, a move criticised by a political analyst as "lack of agenda and a case of misplaced priorities" by government.
Newzimbabwe.com reported on Wednesday that Finance Minister Tendai Biti was expected to allocate funds for the project - which could run into millions of dollars – in his 2013 budget, due to be announced on 15 November.
The properties due for a facelift include President Robert Mugabe's house in Harare's Highfield suburb, as well as houses used by the late vice president Joshua Nkomo, former Zanu leader Hebert Chitepo and Zanu founder Enos Nkala.
According to the report, the project was inspired by "township tourism which has been successfully promoted in South Africa, with several homes of anti-apartheid icons in Soweto being converted to tourist sites".
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said the plan had already sailed through cabinet.
Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya however slammed the proposal, saying it demonstrated government's skewed priorities.
"It’s a clear lack of agenda and a case of misplaced priorities," he said.
"How can they prioritise renovating those houses when the economy is bleeding with an unemployment rate of over 80%, when universities have no ablution facilities?"
Finance Minister Biti was on a regional tour recently begging Zimbabwe’s neighbours to advance loans of up to $400m as he tried to bridge a deficit from his last budget.