Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
GOVERNMENT’S infrastructure development agenda has been taken to Gokwe North district where the local community’s challenges are set to be addressed through the construction of Gunguhwe Bridge which is now 60 percent complete.
Gunguhwe bridge, which was swept away by water in 2008 and had not received attention since then, is one of the many projects being implemented by the Second Republic in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS 1).
Gokwe is prone to flooding.
Incessant rains worsened the damage on the roads leading Government to declare a State of Disaster to enable resource mobilisation.
The project, which is part of the District Development Fund’s (DDF) roads emergency relief fund, is progressing well after Government released funding for the second phase.
DDF, which is responsible for 32 000km of roads nationally, received $400 million for emergency rehabilitation of roads from the treasury.
DDF acting director roads, Engineer Goodwell Mapako, said the rehabilitation of the bridge was now on track following some challenges.
He said all roads across the country should be accessible and usable by villagers, transporters and for easier transportation of Covid-19 vaccines to various destinations.
Eng Mapako was briefing the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring, Implementation of Government Programmes, Dr Joram Gumbo, who is on a tour of Government special projects across the country.
Minister Gumbo visited Gokwe North to check on the rehabilitation progress of Gunguhwe Bridge.
Eng Mapako said the rehabilitation of the bridge is taking place along the road which links Gumunyu and Mashame townships adding that
it is coming at a time when the road was impassable during the rainy season.
“We are happy with the pace we are moving at. As you can see, much of the work has since been done. We started this project in 2018.
Along the way we had some challenges but now work is back on track. If we continue at this pace we are likely to finish the project by October this year,” he said.
Eng Mapako said the bridge will come as a relief to villagers since it connects Gokwe North to Mashonaland West in Karoi as well as Matabeleland North in Binga.
Minister Gumbo said such projects, which transform livelihoods of villagers, must be prioritised so that socio-economic activities continue even during the rainy season.
He said he will engage his counterparts in Cabinet to address some of the challenges such as the availability of raw materials and funds in implementing such projects so that they are completed as soon as possible.
“As you can see, I am happy that this project is progressing well. It is our wish as Government to see such projects, which fall under my portfolio, being finalised. However, I am told some suppliers have pulled out due to the depreciation of the local currency. I need to engage the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, so that we address the problem. We will also liaise with my principal to see to it that the project and others alike get the attention they deserve,” said Minister Gumbo.
He said the Second Republic under the leadership of President Mnangagwa was committed to seeing the completion of life changing projects such as bridges, roads, dams and revival of industry for the growth of the economy.
“Vision 2030 is attainable if we have the basics such as the roads infrastructure which are economic enablers. So we expect to see such projects getting completed,” said Minister Gumbo.
Villagers told the minister how they are cut off from other comminities during rains.
They said the only clinic around is at Mashame and one needs to use the bridge to reach it
“We have children from Gumunyu who attend schools at Mashuma. When it rains these children fail to attend school because the river will be flooded and the bridge impassable. The sick also fail to access the nearest medical facility when it’s raining. So the project is quite welcome as this place is by and large a farming community. At one time, a truck full of pesticides was swept away in the flooded river leaving farmers stranded,” said Mr Mark Sibanda.