By Farai D Hove | ANALYSIS | Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba on Saturday uploaded a video of himself driving in a road a third narrower and tinier than the ones built by the Ian Smith regime 70 years ago.
Zimbabwe is still to have a 50 km road of the multi lane simple, 70 years after the first dualisations were done by the former Rhodesian state establishment.
Charamba’s boast comes at a time when the government has continued to allow the road parastatal, ZINARA to continue running the national transport infrastructure despite cash leakages that are a result of crony fested management, repeating for 4 decades.
Charamba was ecstatic as he wrote: “mabasa eZANU PF vakomana!!!! Aahhh!!!!! Ichoooooo!!!!” – these are the works of ZANUPF.’
Yes, the road might not one in Harare, but the point remains that 70 years later, rural areas should surely have received road expansions of the 1960 glories, the same way other African countries like South Africa have developed theirs.
Take the EB Cloete Interchange, for instance: located within the eThekweni Metro, KwaZulu-Natal, has for years been the South African National Roads Agency Ltd’s (SANRAL) iconic interchange. Constructed in the 1970s, it has provided a full-system interchange for the N2 and N3 National Roads.
An inter city road 80 years ago should be twice that of an inner city 20 years later if there’s been development, especially in a country that’s been the world’s fastest growing crop economy. Comparators can be drawn from countries paired with Rhodesia in the UN 1975 World Book.
Charamba’s boasts also come at a time Zimbabwe has abandoned the complete dualisation of the Beitbridge – Harare, Chirundu highway.
Infor minister Monica Mutsvangwa says Government will now only rehabilitate and widen the highway over the next three years at a cost of $693 million, while dualisation will only take place on some sections of the road. The road will be widened from the current seven metres to 12,5 metres making it at par with the N1 highway in South Africa and the Chirundu-Lusaka Road in Zambia. Sections of the road to be dualised will cost $466 million.
The project will be carried out by local contractors while Government concludes negotiations with Chinese firm Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited (AFECC). Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Joel Biggie Matiza said first phase which is rehabilitation and widening, has already started with mobilisation of equipment. He said some of the equipment is on site and the contractors are working on detours.
“Cabinet received a briefing by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development (Joel Biggie Matiza) on progress in the rehabilitation and dualisation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, following the decision by Government to use resources from the Road Fund, while waiting the conclusion of ongoing discussion with AFECC, a Chinese investor on the project,” Minister Mutsvangwa said at the end if 2018.
“It should be noted that the decision to commence work on the rehabilitation and dualisation of the highway using local resources was taken in light of the fact that a lot of time has already been lost on the project and that the lives of the travelling public continued to be at risk along this major highway which joins the North-South Development Corridor in the sub-region.
“In terms of this arrangement, the highway will be upgraded in two phases. Phase one entails the rehabilitation and widening of the existing road from the current seven metres width to Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission (SATCC) standards of 12,5 meters width, and climbing lanes where necessary. This will bring the road to the same standard as N1 on the South African side and the Chirundu-Lusaka Road on the Zambian side.”