British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson loves Zimbabwe – but not its potholed roads

British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson loves Zimbabwe – but not its potholed roads

By News 24

  • Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were recently in Zimbabwe.
  • They filmed an episode of Amazon’s The Grand Tour.
  • Clarkson said they loved the country, but the potholes were a turn-off.

The British trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond had a great time in Zimbabwe, but they would like some better roads.

The television personalities were recently in Zimbabwe to film an episode of the Amazon show, The Grand Tour.

Everywhere they went, they dished out what Zimbabwean journalist Ranga Mberi described as “banter or slander,” including at the end of the cross-country tour, when Clarkson posted on X, formerly Twitter, how wonderful a country Zimbabwe was, with that one caveat. 

“My profound thanks to the people and government of Zimbabwe for helping to make a very special Grand Tour special, very special. We absolutely adored everything about your country. Apart from the potholes, maybe,” he tweeted.

Clarkson has eight million followers on X, and the potential to significantly influence perceptions in the UK, an important source of tourists for much of southern Africa.

He has a history of controversial statements, many of which landed him in various kinds of trouble.

But the pothole issue goes beyond banter.

In 2021, Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa, addressing his Cabinet, said he was “pained” by potholes and declared war on it.

He also posted on X: “Zimbabweans, our roads are in a state of emergency. It pains me to see so many potholes on our once-great highways.

We must act urgently. Today, my government committed ZW$33.6 billion to rapidly rehabilitate 10 000 kilometres of Zimbabwe’s roads. I will not let you down.”

One of the hardest-hit roads in the country is the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, which links the country to its prime tourist destination, Victoria Falls.

The road arguably has the most depressing potholes.

During the run-up to the presidential election, Mnangagwa directed resources towards patching the almost 400km road.

For years, potholes have been a menace on the country’s roads and played a significant part in some of the most tragic accidents in the last decade.

In 2018, a youth organisation, Vision Africa, got into trouble with the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation after they planted banana trees in the middle of the road, highlighting to the government the deteriorating state of the country’s roads inside towns.

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