Today Zimbabwe celebrates two milestones — the launch of the $1 billion Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu dualisation project and the commissioning of the $260 million Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo. The President, Cde Mugabe, who had a very busy schedule this week, is expected to officiate at the two milestone events.
The launch of the dualisation project will be at Chaka business centre in Chirumhanzu while commissioning of the dam will be at the dam site. Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said the dualisation project will be undertaken in phases with the first phase being the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare Highway.
Geiger International of Austria was contracted by Government to dualise the highway under a 25-year Build Operate and Transfer model. Dr Gumbo said the launch of the dualisation today marks a very big milestone given that implementation of the project was long overdue.
The battles which at one time spilled into the courts were largely to blame for the delays in implementing the project. Dr Gumbo said preliminary indications were that the project will be completed within three years. The Transport Minister said the dualisation project will not only economically benefit Zimbabwe but other countries in the region as well.
Government has made a commitment to ensure that locals directly benefit from the implementation of the dualisation project expected to create thousands of jobs. After the launch of the dualisation, President Mugabe will proceed to Masvingo to commission the country’s largest inland water body, Tokwe-Mukosi Dam.
The dam which is about 70 percent full, has a capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres. The long awaited commissioning of the dam is expected to ignite economic activity in agriculture and tourism sectors. The dreams of turning the Lowveld into a greenbelt can now be realised.
Crops such as sugar cane, maize, cotton and even citrus that favour the climatic conditions of the Lowveld can now be grown under irrigation. There are many investment opportunities in the tourism sector following the completion of the dam.
The completion of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway dualisation will result in increased numbers of eco-tourists visiting Tokwe-Mukosi Dam.
These tourists will require facilities such as lodges, hotels, restaurants, service stations and other such facilities.
Today as we celebrate these two major achievements, it is incumbent upon each and every Zimbabwean to find out how best he or she can benefit from such big projects. The Government on its part has made a commitment that it will ensure locals benefit from such projects but this is only possible if those meant to benefit take advantage of the many opportunities availed — be it jobs or investment opportunities.
It is our fervent hope that most of the investors in both tourism and agricutlure at Tokwe-Mukosi will be locals. Capital has always been the major stumbling block hence the need in some cases to enter into partnerships with even foreign investors. The Tokwe-Mukosi Dam was mooted way back in 1955 only to be implemented by the Zimbabwean Government after independence. This goes to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to uplift the people’s welfare by availing empowerment opportunities.
Today’s launch and commissioning has demonstrated Government’s capacity to deliver on its promises much to the chagrin of the prophets of doom.
We want to once again implore Zimbabweans to be on the forefront in exploiting the availed opportunities meant to improve their livelihoods. Life will never be the same for the people of Mavingo and neighbouring areas as well as those living along the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway if they take advantage of the available opportunities.