By Memory Sibanda and Praise Gwenzi| Checheche residents have expressed mixed feelings over the recent installation of solar lights at the growth point amid concerns over non-consultation of key stakeholders.
Chipinge Rural District Council which oversees Checheche Growth Point contracted a Harare based company Mikeledi Resources Corporation to install 52 solar powered street lights.
Chipinge RDC Human Resources and Administration Head Takesure Maduveko told ZimEye that the tower lights project was funded from the devolution funds at cost of ZWL$6.6 Million dollars.
In an interview with ZimEye, a Checheche resident Zvikomborero Mandhlazi said the installation of tower lights will curb rampant crime in the area.
“ Tinombaadakara yaambo ngendaa yekuti mwaChecheche mwajeka taiye tahlupeka ngemabhinya ,hino tahlamburuka (we are excited about the tower lights, crime had become a big concern to us and we hope it will go down), said Mandhlazi who is a single mother and vendor in Checheche.
Mandhlazi’s sentiments were also shared by other women involved in vending.
Most of these hardworking women sell agricultural produce such as fruits, vegetables and tomatoes until around 8pm.
Alfred Tafamba who is a businessman at Checheche Growth point also hailed the installation of the tower lights saying he had witnessed improved business since people can now move around at night.
“Previously people were being robbed while trying board long journey buses to Harare, Gweru, Masvingo, Bulawayo and South Africa. So I find the installation of solar lights positive since it has increased business hours and reduced robbery with people now able to move around at night,” said Tafamba.
Checheche Residents and Ratepayers Trust (CRRT) was however unimpressed accusing Chipinge RDC of unilaterally imposing the solar lights project
“Checheche residents were not consulted and informed in terms of prioritising this project, which are the critical processes and procedures required when formulating devolution projects” said CRRT Chairperson Win Bhila.
Bhila said stakeholder consultation was key to get buy in which in turn reduces cases of vandalism of the street lights.
In a statement soon after the installation of the project, Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) congratulated Chipinge RDC for using devolution funds on projects that are tangible.
The organisation’s Research, Livelihoods and Governance Officer Allan Murozvi advised Chipinge RDC to involve its stakeholders from the village and ward level to ensure that such development is accepted and consumed by the correct beneficiaries.