Road construction projects across the country have created thousands of jobs for locals changing lives and livelihoods while infrastructure is being delivered even to some of the remotest parts of the country such as Kanyemba Mashonaland Central Province.
This is in tandem with President Mnangagwa’s policy of “leaving no one and no place behind” in terms of development, a policy that seamlessly dovetails with the devolution agenda that is expressed in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
For hundreds of people in Mashonaland Central province, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the 354-kilometre of Harare-Kanyemba Road under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) over and above other infrastructure projects like dams is a game-changer.
What is more, the roads are being constructed by local firms—many of which are recording brisk business that has raised the demand for construction materials and also led to industrial recapitalisation.
In interviews, villagers in Mbire at Mashumbi Business Centre said while in the past travelling to Harare was a torturous experience, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the major highway that will soon link Harare with the northern region, where three key national projects, namely the Muzarabani gas and oil project, Mavurayadona Dam and Kanyemba Greenbelt are taking shape. By offering solutions to challenges that communities are faced with, such projects have come in handy for villagers in the province.
A trader at Mashumbi business centre Mrs Mabel Nyaruvabvu said in the past it was difficult and expensive to go to Harare but that is now all set to change.
“Motorists experienced a lot of breakdowns due to the bad state of the road and getting to Harare was a nightmare for us. We have abundant ‘masau’ fruits which is a source of income for the Mbire district. We wish to take masau to Chinhoyi, Harare, and other places but the road was not trafficable now that is slowly changing and our children are getting the much-needed jobs,” she said.
Spin offs from the construction activities include a boom in businesses at the Growth Point, not only for retailers but also for traders.
Elizabeth Musimurimwa of Chombe village who was selling her masau fruit by the roadside said business was booming due to increased traffic on the road.
“We used to travel to Mahuhwe on foot to seek medical attention at Mahuhwe Clinic due to transport challenges. We are in between Mahuhwe and Mushumbi and we would pay US$2 for a 14 kilometres journey. We are happy with the construction works and we thank the Government for prioritising people in marginalized communities.”
Chief Matsiwo said the construction of the road will have an impact, not only on the people of Mbire but the country at large because it opens a shorter route into central Africa.
“This road will bring great development to the district and enhance trade with Zambia and Mozambique. The 140 kilometres from Mahuhwe to Kanyemba can take seven hours but soon this will be a thing of the past. We don’t want this progress to be stalled so that the tarred road reaches Kanyemba soon. We also have the oil and gas prospects in Mbire and as the Chief, I am very excited,” he said.
A village health worker from Chombe village Mr Joseh Gwevera said his work involved frequenting Mahuhwe clinic which was difficult due to the bad state of the road, especially during the rainy season.
“Riding my bicycle in the pothole-riddled gravel road is a nightmare. I am the happiest of them all because my work involves moving around the village and visiting the clinic,” he said.
Last Thursday officials from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development led by Minister Felix Mhona visited Mbire to appreciate the scope of the project.
The contractor, Exodus Construction, is already working on redesigning and the total construction of a 10km road that links Mahuhwe and Mushumbi.
In an interview, Exodus project manager Engineer Fanuel Tivaone said that the company was in process of recruiting locals to assist them with construction works.
“We are currently working on total construction of this stretch to link it to Mushumbi. The whole scope of the project is now to rehabilitate the Harare-Kanyemba road and we are starting most of the works next week,” said Eng Tivaone.
Mashonaland Central Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Monica Mavhunga said the province, which relies heavily on agriculture, is going through a rapid transformation that will improve livelihoods in the region.
“This is an important project to our province because this is a farming zone and it improves connectivity in the transportation of produce. We also have projects such as Muzarabani oil and gas, hence the project is very significant to us as a province,” said minister Mavhunga.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Mhona said the project is confirmation of the target “to leave no place behind” under the ERRP.
“The Second Republic is reaching every corner. Like here in Mbire, works are already underway to construct this road,” he said.
He said the Mahuhwe-Kanyemba Road is different from other roads where asphalt overlay is only done.
“Here, the contractor is redesigning the road to ensure a vibrant road. The road construction is starting from Harare over 320 kilometers to Kanyemba. Initially, we didn’t have plans for this road for years, so the five-year period is a reasonable timeframe that will allow great exploits and exceeds expectations,” said the minister.
He said road construction is at the centre of national development and enhances trade between Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique.
“Bilateral relations with other countries are made possible through road network and visiting other countries. I am happy that our link with Zambia and Mozambique will be made easier enhancing our Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said minister Mhona.