Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT aims to drill 400 solar-powered boreholes in Matabeleland North Province by December this year, which will boost access to clean water and facilitate establishment of nutritional gardens in line with the Presidential Rural Development Programme.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, officially launched the ambitious borehole drilling programme for the province in Ward 12 of Makhwatheni area on Friday under Chief Sikhobokhobo in Nkayi District.
The minister, who was accompanied by local legislator Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, who is also Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development and Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Cde Richard Moyo, handed over one borehole drilling rig and said four more rigs would be delivered to the province next month.
The upliftment of lives of rural populations is at the heart of the Second Republic’s inclusive economic transformation agenda, and buttresses the devolution focus, which is aimed at ensuring that no place is left behind in terms of development.
The first such programme was championed by President Mnangagwa at the now thriving Sekusile Nutritional Garden at Makorokoro, Mangwe District in Matabeleland South Province in December last year.
The programme has now covered all rural provinces countrywide and goes a long way in helping communities to use local resources to uplift their lives.
Nkayi is one of the districts prone to water challenges linked to climate change dynamics and non-availability of boreholes in many places, which frustrates villagers and civil servants operating in such areas.
While Nkayi district is well known for being dry and for having a deep water table that can go beyond 100 metres, at just 25 metres, the borehole rig had hit a rich vein of water with engineers saying they would sink deeper to ensure sustainable supplies.
“The Presidential Rural Development Programme is a programme that the President has deliberately launched to uplift the livehood of all Zimbabweans,” said Dr Masuka in his address.
“It has three components, the first that we see here is that every village in Zimbabwe should have a borehole. Vision 2030 cannot be achieved when women and girls walk long distances with 20 litre buckets on their heads.
“There are 192 wards in Matabeleland North Province and this drilling rig and the four that are coming will drill an initial two per ward so that is about 400 boreholes that we will drill before Christmas this year.
“The Provincial Minister (Cde Richard Moyo) if you could also make sure that all chiefs who don’t have boreholes as the rig passes, they drill also at the chiefs’ homesteads.”
Minister Masuka said under this programme, President Mnangagwa has vowed to provide clean water and that clean water will also be an economic enabler.
He said each of the 35 000 villages in the country will have a borehole and a nutritional garden by 2025, adding that Zinwa has been given the mandate to drive the programme.
Dr Masuka said the borehole drilling equipment will not leave the district before the mandate of each village having a borehole is achieved while the other four rigs that will be given to the province will be sent to other districts.
“Next month, just after Heroes, we will be delivering four more rigs to Matabeleland North Province. Initially, each rig will drill two boreholes in a ward,” said the minister.
“So, this drilling rig will not leave Nkayi until it has covered two villages per ward and the other rigs will be allocated to other districts. Your one-hectare garden here will be the training centre for Nkayi District.
“You need to select 10 people who will be taken to Makorokoro Village (Mangwe District) to learn what is happening and start practising here,” said Dr Masuka.
He said various departments under his ministry will also assist the village in coming up with the prosperous nutritional garden.
Besides the 400 boreholes for the province, Dr Masuka said more boreholes will be drilled for schools and youth run projects.
“We will drill two boreholes per ward for Youth Agricultural Development Centres. We are also going to drill a borehole in every school, for the 9 600 schools in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“For this school here, Makhwatheni Primary, we will connect water pipes for the pupils and to the teachers houses.”