Zvamaida Murwira in MUDZI
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned Rwenya Bridge in Mudzi district that will reconnect the area with Manicaland province on the northern side as the Second Republic steps up infrastructure development projects using local resources and companies consistent with its “Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo” mantra.
The bridge was swept away in 2013 by Cyclone Eline and had disconnected Mudzi district in Mashonaland East province from Nyanga in Manicaland province.
People in both areas were struggling to cross to either side, especially during the rainy season, and had resorted to longer routes such as going via Harare from Mudzi should they want to go to Nyanga.
In his keynote address, President Mnangagwa said his administration will continue to spearhead infrastructure developments through mobilising own resources without borrowing from multilateral agencies.
He said the Government does not owe money to anyone in the current projects it was undertaking since they were mobilising their own resources and using local companies that they had been supporting to develop the country.
“We have five companies that we have identified. In the past when we wanted to do huge projects like dams and roads, the tenders would be won by foreign companies. We have realised that our local companies that we have supported are now doing well,” said President Mnangagwa.
The five local companies currently carrying out infrastructure projects are Bitumen World, Tensor, Masimba, Fossil and Exodus.
The President said Government will accept development partners on its terms and no one should dictate what is good for the country.
A ZUPCO bus travelling from Nyanga to Mudzi crosses the reconstructed Rwenya Bridge yesterday. — Pictures: Kudakwashe Hunda
He was responding to claims from some quarters that the bridge, constructed by Bitumen World, was narrow.
President Mnangagwa said the company had already constructed the foundation for further expansion of the bridge and will expand it should that need arise.
“It is our responsibility to work on these infrastructure projects. In developing our country, we do it at our pace and terms. Those who say it is narrow should build their own bridges in the manner they want,” he said.
Turning to current demining activities taking place in Mudzi and other areas across the country, President Mnangagwa said Government remained optimistic that the process would be completed soon.
“I know there are landmines around here. I am aware of the extent of the landmines mainly from my experience as Minister of Defence. We have covered a lot of ground and few places now remain,” he said.
President Mnangagwa outlined several developmental projects that his administration was undertaking in several sectors of the economy.
He said he will soon send agricultural experts to study the feasibility of irrigation work on Rwenya river as the Government is determined to ensure a food secure society.
“As a country we now know how much hectarage we require for optimum yields. We no longer need hunger in our country. We must be a food secure nation, never should we starve again,” said President Mnangagwa.
Speaking at the same occasion, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga commended President Mnangagwa, saying his objective is to transform people’s lives.
“His mission is to transform the lives of people by 2030 where we want every Zimbabwean to be living above middle income. We need to work hard to fulfil that objective and we might even achieve that before that period,” he said.
Vice President Chiwenga said upon realising that roads were claiming several lives through traffic accidents, Government introduced the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme which saw massive rehabilitation of roads and other infrastructure projects across the country.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said the Second Republic was carrying out great works under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa.
“We have fulfilled the wishes of local villagers. When we started Rwenya bridge people thought it was a joke and I said gone are the days of making false promises,” said Minister Mhona.
Minister of State responsible for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Mashonaland East Cde Applonia Munzverengi said Rwenya bridge was one of the province’s pride.
“We want to thank Bitumen, the company that constructed this bridge. It did a great job,” said Minister Munzverengi.
Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri said Government was walking the talk in terms of transforming the lives of people.
Villagers spoken to said the bridge was a masterstroke in terms of transforming their lives.
“People were drowning during the rainy season as they tried to cross the flooded river because there was nowhere else to use should one want to go to Nyanga from Mudzi or vice versa,” said Mr Tinashe Ngungunaza from Fombe under Chief Kateerera in Nyanga.
Another local villager, Mrs Virginia Nyajena, said accessing health services had become a problem owing to the absence of the bridge.
“We were travelling long distances as far as Nyamapanda. Buses from Harare to Mudzi would not go further than Mudzi and were no longer crossing into Nyanga or vice versa,” said Mrs Nyajena.
The event was attended by Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, Zanu PF Politburo members and thousands of ruling party supporters.