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Harare's potholes boast festive decorations

Driving to work the other day I came across what looked very much like a Christmas tree in the middle of the road. It was leafy, multi-colored and several feet tall. But on closer inspection it turned out to be a warning sign erected by civic-minded motorists.

Zimbabwe’s roads, like everything else in this country, are in a state of disrepair. With the onset of the rains last month, smallish potholes have become giant craters.

The “Christmas tree” I spotted was one such development. It was about four feet in circumference and at least three-feet deep. As a result passing motorists had “planted” tree branches, tin-foil and other “décor” in the crater to alert other drivers to the danger of seriously damaging their suspension or bursting their tires. Worse still, vehicles swerving to avoid potholes at the last minute can collide with others. Hence the “Christmas tree.” It was only missing lights and an angel.

In other parts of the city, residents have started flower beds in the road and other monuments to municipal indifference. Newspapers hold competitions at this time of year to identify the largest offenders. It has to be said, some are repeat entries from previous years.

“Mine is the size of a swimming pool,” one proud “owner” wrote!

My Christmas tree is a bit bedraggled now but with a little makeover I think it is guaranteed a prize.