PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said the Second Republic has fulfilled the bulk of its promises despite the odds and assured the nation that the rehabilitation of the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road and the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road, among others, remain a priority under the renewed infrastructural development drive in Matabeleland North.
Developing a sound road infrastructure is one of the critical enablers towards achieving set targets under the National Development Strategy (NDS1), the Government’s five-year economic masterplan, which spans from 2021 through to 2025.
The Bulawayo-Nkayi Road has in recent years become untrafficable amid an outcry by motorists. So far, only a stretch of about 50km has been widened and tarred over the years with the remainder of the road linking Turk Mine and Inyathi area in Bubi District up to Nkayi Centre yet to be worked on.
Under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, the Government is scaling up the rehabilitation of major roads across the country and Nkayi Road is one of them, and is being allocated significant amounts of money to expedite progress under the 2023 National Budget.
“In terms of roads, we have Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road and Binga-Siabuwa-Karoi Road, which are being attended to now. The Bulawayo-Nkayi, Nkayi-Gokwe, Lupane-Nkayi, Nkayi-Kwekwe, Umguza-Bulawayo-Tsholotsho roads remain a priority of the Second Republic to fix them,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Somgolo and Ingwigwizi bridges are now complete. We had power challenges, and now we have enough. We now have 600MW from Units 7 and 8 in Hwange and I will commission the project and the Bemba Solar Plant in Tsholotsho.”
Since coming into power in 2017, President Mnangagwa has pushed the Government to spearhead equitable and inclusive development across the country as he seeks to ensure “no one and no place is left behind”.
President Mnangagwa salutes the huge turnout by Zanu PF supporters at the rally
For Matabeleland North, in particular, the Government has defied the odds through the successful implementation of several high-impact projects such as the Lake Gwayi-Shangani, which is nearing completion and is being built using resources from the fiscus.
First mooted in 1912 as a permanent solution to Bulawayo’s perennial water woes, successive administrations failed to implement the project until the coming in of the Second Republic.
A pipeline is under construction linking the massive water body with Bulawayo, which will create a greenbelt and livestock hubs that will transform the province’s economy and create more jobs.
Following the recent completion of the US$1,5 billion Hwange Power Station Units 7 and 8 expansion project, Matabeleland North Province has become the country’s major power producer with an output of more than 600MW.
“Matabeleland North is rich because it has coal, lithium, methane gas, gold and so on. It is the duty of the Second Republic to ensure that local communities benefit from those resources,” said President Mnangagwa.
“In Kamativi, there is construction of a lithium processing plant and next year I should be able to commission it.”
The President said Zanu PF is delivering its promises by implementing infrastructural development such as roads, dams, schools and clinics in every province.
“These cannot be completed overnight and so if you give us another five years, we shall uplift the life of every single Zimbabwean wherever they are so that they enjoy their motherland,” he said.
“We are building Lake Gwayi-Shangani and it is now 72,2 percent complete and when complete it will hold 690 million cubic meters of water.
“It is also going to provide over 10 000 hectares of irrigation along the pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo. We are also building Ziminya Dam in Nkayi and the Deka water pipeline supplying water to the Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and 8, which is also in progress. Along that pipeline, we will have agricultural activities.”
Lake Gwayi-Shangani will also provide hydro-power generation in villages and schools in Lupane, Hwange and Binga areas.
“We have also remodelled our universities so that they produce students who can produce a service or product. At LSU, we have introduced an agro-industrial park where students are taught piggery, animal husbandry and horticulture so that when they leave university, they will have something to do to promote and grow our economy,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Under the Second Republic we have established a teachers’ college in Hwange, Binga Vocational Training Centre, as well as an industrial training college just in five years. Under the devolution policy, the philosophy is that we leave no community and no one behind, and under those funds, communities can build what is good for them.”
In terms of social services, President Mnangagwa said Government has built Lupane Composite Government Complex, which is 90 percent complete, while the construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital is ongoing including several clinics and shelters for expecting mothers.
“We have also decentralised passport services and we now have an e-passport office in Hwange. In some areas where communities share boundaries with wildlife sanctuaries, I have directed Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu to make sure that where there is human-wildlife conflict, we protect our people,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Matabeleland North was a vital province, which played a critical role in the country’s independence and was one of the strategic routes for freedom fighters to cross into Zimbabwe to liberate their motherland.
“We will not forget the major battles against imperialism. I want to remind you of the Battle of Pupu in Gwayi-Shangani.
“That is where the last confidante of the late King Lobengula stood against Allan Wilson and defeated him and his troops. The heroes who fought that battle are the Imbizo regiments whose commander was General Mtshana Khumalo, the great grandfather of the current Chief Mtshana Khumalo,” said the President.
He urged people to vote for Zanu PF, saying it is the only party that can build, develop, industrialise and grow the country’s economy as well improve the quality of life of our people.
“Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo/Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. Our development philosophy is that we build our country brick upon brick stone upon stone step by step. I am aware that our economic growth is constrained by the sanctions imposed on our country by the Western countries,” said the President.
“However, in spite of those sanctions, we, the people of Zimbabwe have said we shall build our own country depending on our own resources with sanctions on us.
“Now for the past three years, our economy has been growing at a rate of above five percent and it is the fastest growing economy in the Sadc region under sanctions.”
President Mnangagwa explained how the Second Republic has introduced a model of agriculture that addresses food security at the grassroots level through Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, which has yielded positive results.
“Where there is water the Ministry of Agriculture introduces irrigation schemes throughout the country. Here in Matabeleland North, we have Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme, Bulawayo Kraal in Binga and several other places where irrigation schemes will be established by the Second Republic,” he said.
“We also have 35 000 villages in Zimbabwe and the Second Republic has bought 80 rigs to drill boreholes and after three years every village will have a solar-powered borehole.”
In Binga, the Second Republic has provided fishing rigs for chiefs, women, and the youth so that they empower themselves.