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National Zambezi Water Project for selfish interest: Maseko

by Byo24
02 Jan 2011 at 01:05hrs | Views
FORMER Matabeleland North Governor and Ambassador to Russia and Cuba Retired Major-General Jevan Maseko yesterday said the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) will never take off because some people were using it for their selfish ends.

Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko said there should be a complete overhaul of the committees that run the project, as most people were pre-occupied with selfish interests.

"The NMZWP has been run by people who are more pre-occupied with selfish interests than the project itself," said Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko.

"The NMZWP is a prestigious initiative and all people want their names mentioned in it, hence most people are involved in the project only because they want their names to be known and are not worried about its implementation.

"Names do not matter but what matters is implementation. That is why this project needs to be run by the right people who would do the job."

Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko is one of the founding members of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust, a committee he co-chaired with Dr Dumiso Dabengwa.

Dr Dabengwa chairs the MZWT.

The committee was created by the provincial council composed of representatives from Matabeleland North districts and the Bulawayo City Council.

Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko said the project should not be hijacked from the people of Matabeleland, as it was purely theirs.

"As far as I am concerned that is a developmental project for Bulawayo and Matabeleland North and should be given back to them and be spearheaded by the Governors of these two provinces who should combine their efforts to ensure this project takes off," he said.
Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko expressed concern over lack of funding towards the project.

He also said the manner in which the project was managed was the reason why it was failing to attract investors.

"When I was the chairperson of the committee, we made wide consultations regarding the viability of the project. In 1993 I left the committee to become the Ambassador to Algeria before going to Russia.

"While in Russia, I tried to keep in touch with the committee back home and made efforts to source pipes and other material to have the project started but my efforts were turned down.

"I even spoke to officials from Libya on the issue who had interest. There was also an eastern country that wanted to provide assistance but I do not know what happened to that. The project had a lot of support then but that was crashed down because of selfish interests."

Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko said there was nothing new in the project adding that the only sticking issue was implementation.

He also said there was no need to change the name of the project to include the word "National".

"There is nothing new in that project because even the environmental survey was done by us as well as resolutions to build the Gwayi-Shangani dam. The project has always been national, as we submitted all the proposals and reports to Government in the 1990s," he said.

Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko's views come at a time when there are serious concerns over the dwindling water supplies in Bulawayo's dams with the NMZWP being viewed as the lasting solution to the city's water woes.

Critics have argued there was a lot of politicking surrounding the project and said it was high time that people in charge of it produced tangible results.
Although Water Resources Management and Development Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo has assured the nation that the project would be fulfilled, doubts have increased as the project lacked funding since its inception in 1912.

The NMZWP is viewed as the permanent solution to Bulawayo and the rest of Matabeleland's water problems.

There are also indications that once the project is completed, Zimbabwe might earn a lot of foreign currency through supplying water to parts of Botswana and enabling various economic projects along the green belt of the pipeline.

Repeated efforts to get comment from Dr Dabengwa and Matabeleland South Governor, Cde Angeline Masuku, the secretary of the MZWT, on Rtd Maj-Gen Maseko's comments were fruitless, as they could not be reached.

Source - Byo24