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Gwayi-Shangani dam completion set for 2020

by ViewFromMatopos
04 Jun 2019 at 11:27hrs | Views
Forget that Matabeleland North province sticks out as the only province out of the 10 that is yet to have a provincial hospital.

That the Government composite building is yet to be completed and its staff still "lodging" at Bulawayo's Mhlahlandlela Complex.

Despite these setbacks, the province is about to revel in dance and drink as the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, the first phase of the Zambezi Water Project, first mooted in 1912, is about to become a reality.

The "Help a thirsty Matebele" initiative launched in the 1970s to end the region's water woes did not materialise either.

While, the late Erich Block in 1993 was a bit dramatic, remarking that "no development will trickle down to Matabeleland unless three million Shonas, including the President, are relocated to that province" it has taken President Emmerson Mnangagwa barely two years to have the first phase of the Gwayi-Shangani project completed.

Indeed, the winds of the New Dispensation under the able leadership of President Mnangagwa are being felt in this part of the country as is the case countrywide.

He has demonstrated that tribalists and regionalists have no place in the new Zimbabwe.

To be precise, 2020 is the year that the dam construction will be completed, making it the third largest after Tugwi-Mukosi and Mutirikwi.

Already, the people of Chief Hwange, Chief Nekatambe, Chief Mvutu and Chief Shana are swimming in the joy of economic activities heralded by the 2nd Republic's expansion works at ZPC Hwange that has resulted in the creation of at least 3000 job opportunities.

The current Chief Nelukoba, an educationist and consistent development voice, could be smiling that the historical Gwayi-Shangani project that falls within his area of his jurisdiction is beckoning during his lifetime.

It is sad though that some strong advocates of the Zambezi Water Project such as the late national hero, Dumiso Dabengwa, and water activist, Arnold Payne, have passed on before seeing through the first phase of this massive project.

It cannot be taken away that the completion of the dam would be a befitting post-humous present to both Dabengwa and Payne, and others who came before them.

Payne an ardent water activist, in 1992 pushed a wheelbarrow carrying 210 litres of water from the Zambezi River to Bulawayo and then Gwanda in a lone campaign for the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.

When Payne arrived in Gwanda he emptied the drum and then continued his journey with an empty wheelbarrow to parliament in Harare. Payne's plates, cups, clothing and vehicle were inscribed with the words Zambezi Water for Matabeleland.

In 2013, a year before he died, Payne was quoted in media as having said: "I pray to God that I should not die until the Zambezi water project is completed."

Five years after the death of Payne, Zimbabwe National Water Authority has announced that the dam will be completed by 2020.

The project which has had several false starts gathered momentum with the advent of the New Dispensation.

Barely four months in office, following the November 2017 events, President Mnangagwa in March 2018 assured the traditional leaders in Matabeleland North that the Gwayi-Shangani Dam was on the Government's shopping priority list.

 "I have made a promise to the chiefs ukuthi idamu leli lizaphela next year. Ngizabona ukuthi imali efunekayo izabuya idamu liphele next year (I will see to it that all the required funding for the project is availed to have it completed by next year)," said President Mnangagwa then.

A year later the project is now nearing 36 percent completion.
ZINWA Communications Manager, Mrs Marjorie Munyonga, recently told SundayNews that "work on the construction of Gwayi Shangani Dam is progressing quite well, with the project now 36 percent complete. Current works include the placement of concrete on the dam wall and the crushing of concrete stones."

"With a holding capacity of 635 million cubic metres of water, Gwayi-Shangani dam will be the largest water body in Matabeleland North Province and the third largest in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Mutirikwi both in Masvingo province."

On completion, the dam which is on the confluence of Gwayi and Shangani rivers, is expected to bring about socio-economic transformation of surrounding communities and other parts of the drought-prone Matabeleland North province.

A pipeline will connect from Zambezi River via the dam to Cowdray Park water works in Bulawayo with multiple outlets along the way where various projects will be carried out to create a greenbelt.

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Source - ViewFromMatopos