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Prioritise Gwayi-Shangani Dam, pipeline

by Staff reporter
11 May 2023 at 05:32hrs | Views
THE ruling Zanu PF party's Twitter account has some interesting nuggets. Its posts on February 25, 2021 on the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline groundbreaking ceremony and the commissioning of the 20 boreholes at the Epping Forest water project in Nyamandlovu cannot go unnoticed.

"The Zambezi Water projects will go beyond the three Matabeleland provinces and it will become a reality under my administration. Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction now at 40%. Construction of the pipeline has begun," the ruling party quotes President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying.

The second republic, he said, was a listening government, and had "listened to the Matabeleland cry for the Zambezi Water Project". The Gwayi-Shangani Dam would have been completed in December 2021 and the pipeline linking the dam to Bulawayo was expected to be completed by December 2022, he said.

The project would be undertaken by various local contractors to cut down the period of construction, underpinned by the new dispensation's results-oriented culture, with the new water infrastructure expected to spur productivity and enhance water security in the dry region.

This dam has been a century in the making, and could in reality end water shortages for more than half a million Zimbabweans in the country's southern region. More importantly, from Mnangagwa's perspective, it would win votes for the ruling party in areas that have been strongholds for the opposition since the turn of the millennium.

Mnangagwa had the momentum. At the groundbreaking ceremony referred to above, even sceptical villagers were heard to quip in private conversations: uMnangagwa uyasebenza khakhulu meaning: "Mnangagwa is working hard."

However, the storylines have changed, with authorities failing to meet the set time lines on several occasions. That "results-oriented culture" seems to have been conveniently forgotten and as we approach elections, new timelines are being pushed to make it seem like something urgent is being done.

Interestingly, the ruling Zanu PF party's Twitter account covered the ceremony under hashtags: #ZANUPFIsAboutAction #ZANUPFIsAboutEconomyEconomy and #ZANUPFSaysNoToPoliticking4Votes.

The developments since then make a mockery of such hashtags.

After failing to meet the earlier timelines, government moved the completion dates to early this year, which would still have given the party a campaign platform to capture votes in the country's long-neglected second-largest city and region.

In January this year, Lands minister Anxious Masuka said the dam would be completed ahead of the 2023/24 summer agricultural season.

Last week, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister Richard Moyo said the dam would start holding water by June this year, if it rains.

Bulawayo and the Matabeleland provinces are in desperate need of water. So the dam and the pipeline are key to rescuing the situation.

If Zanu PF is not playing politics, it needs to make the completion of the dam and pipeline to Bulawayo a priority.

Source - newsday