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We are called tribalists

28 Sep 2017 at 09:34hrs | Views
When we complain that our region gets the last and least priority from government we are called tribalists and all sorts of names.

Today's mega headline is that Government has sourced money for the demolition and reconstruction of the Buhera Bridge which must be completed quickly before the rains.

In the picture is Mtshabezi River Bridge in Gwanda which was built sometime in the fifties.

This bridge besides linking Gwanda to the communities in Gwanda North also and importantly links the town to the numerous mines across Mtshabezi River which include big mines Blanket Mine and Vumbachikwe Mine that keep the country ticking.

As seen on the picture its a low lying bridge over a big river and its just a single lane concrete structure. The bridge floods with the lowest rains and maroons Gwanda town from the communities across. With heavy rains the bridge can be in floods for days.

Lives have been lost on the narrow bridge with the floods or no floods. We have talked and complained about the bridge for years. As residents representatives of Gwanda we have been to offices and offices here in Gwanda and even Harare on the matter and all this has yielded nothing.

What even irks us more is that everyone wanting to be an MP for Gwanda has used talk about the bridge as their campaign tool with huge promises and lies about the construction of the bridge. All these have remained but just that, promises and lies.

At every national and local budget consultations residents talk about the bridge and all the talk goes too deaf ears.

My personal latest advocacy on this bridge was just a couple of weeks ago when I phoned the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance Chairperson Honourable David Champfika and told him that another rain season is beckoning on us and we will be seeing the flooding of the river yet again after our presentations to his committee last year continue to yield no results.

I reminded him that last budget consultation I took a bet with him that they will return this year for another budget consultation and the bridge will still be the same if not worse. He will be coming again in a few weeks to do the "consultations"and need I say it, nothing was done on the bridge except repainting of the danger warning signs before the bridge.

I am going to ask him where his committee managed to hurriedly get funds for the demolishing and reconstruction of the Buhera Bridge which only came to the fore after last year's rains while the Gwanda Mtshabezi River Bridge has endured nearly 50 years of flooding and he himself and his predecessors have endured years of outcry from residents on the bridge.

I do not want to go into several other bridges (and dams) in Gwanda that were destroyed by rains last rains (and other seasons before), that remain unattended to besides Minister Joram Gumbo's huge misrepresentations that ALL bridges which were damaged by the last rains have been repaired by ZINARA.

Everyone who cares needs not be reminded of the heartbreaking times that the community in Sibhula Village of Gwanda North went through last year when Maleme and Hovi River bridges were washed away leaving the communities marooned for months and being fed by the Airforce of Zimbabwe. Need I yet again say that a month or so to go before the rains come the two bridges remain unattended to.

This kind of discrimination and marginalisation is the one that irks some of us to talk and when we talk we are quickly called names and hated for speaking genuinely to issues affecting our communities.

I personally demand that if government really cares about us and wants to show it, they divert that money "sourced" for the Buhera Bridge to us who I believe have been knocking long before Buhera did.

Is it because the area is under Joseph Chinotimba who is a known front ZANU PF campaign machine or is it because Buhera has more ZANU PF votes than Gwanda in case I start believing that it's because Gwanda is of a less recognised ethnic group? What should I believe? Someone needs to prove me wrong.

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Source - Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo
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