President Emmerson Mnangagwa has launched the second phase of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) as well as officially open Karanda Bridge in Mt Darwin District.
The launch, described by the President as a key milestone, comes as Zimbabwe forges ahead with modernising the national transport infrastructure, which is a key enabler for economic growth and development.
The President described the district’s strategic importance to the country’s quest for independence.
“It is most opportune that we gather here in Mashonaland Central, Mount Darwin District in particular only three days before the celebration of 41 years of our country’s independence. This Province is a cradle of the liberation struggle. It was in December 1972 that the incident at Altena Farm occurred demonstrating a new zeal by the revolutionary sons and daughters of our country to wage the protracted war of liberation to end settler colonialism.
“As a country, we remain forever grateful for the losses, sacrifices and hardships endured by communities in all provinces, such as those here in Mount Darwin, Rushinga, Mbire and Muzarabani Districts, during the long years of the struggle. Our heroes fought hard so that we can enjoy the full benefits of owning our land, freedom, independence, and sovereign right to chart our own destiny as well as economic emancipation and empowerment for a better life for all,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said his Government, under the Second Republic, commits to implement the devolution and decentralisation agenda with a greater sense of urgency.
“The whole country bore the heavy consequences of colonialism, the fight was ours together, and we enjoy independence together as one people. Equally, our national social and economic development, growth and prosperity must be ours together. As the country begins this particular decade since the attainment of independence, no one and no place will be left behind.”
“Obligated by this cardinal aspiration, my administration disbursed ZW873.9 million to Mashonaland Central Province, during this first quarter of the year, (January to March) towards improved service delivery, development and equalisation projects,” he added.
“This has seen transformative changes to the social infrastructure in many districts across the Province. These include construction and rehabilitation of schools, clinics, dip tanks, bridges, roads and the acquisition of state of the art equipment for social service delivery. In light of this, I urge communities to leverage on their unique and abundant natural resources to propel this programme. The country, our provinces, districts and wards will be developed by us, vana vemuno. Let us work hard, together, with unity of purpose to lift our people out of poverty.”
President Mnangagwa said the normal to above normal rains received this year were most welcome and brought about great relief to people across the country. As a result, the agriculture sector is anticipating a bumper harvest while the abundant water bodies have filled up giving greater prospects for sustainable livestock sector development.
“Sadly, however, these incessant rains had the unfortunate effect of damaging our road infrastructure country wide. My Government heard the outcry of our people as movement on our roads has become cumbersome, costly and indeed risky.
“As a result, on 9 February 2021, Government declared the state of all our roads a National Disaster, thereby giving impetus to the operationalisation of the Second Phase of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2). This programme is vital given that roads are intricately linked with our economy within the country and beyond. Furthermore, a good transport network is an important cog in the realization of a wide array of the sector priorities and objectives outlined in the National Development Strategy 1, as we journey towards Vision 2030. Hence, my Administration remains seized with the provision and maintenance of sustainable infrastructure and other associated services.
He said ZW$33.6 billion has therefore been set aside for the Second Phase of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme. The programme sets out an ambitious and yet achievable target of rehabilitating 10 000 km of road infrastructure of which one thousand kilometres is in Mashonaland Central Province.
He said, “The rehabilitation exercise will thus be funded through our own domestic resources and the use of our own talented people. I exhort the national road authorities to be focused and purposeful so that this expansive programme is speedily implemented within or ahead of set time frames.
“In addition, it is my expectation that as we roll out this strategic national programme, prudent financial management, good corporate governance, accountability, transparency and value for money remain guiding principles. Corruption of any form will not be tolerated.”
President Mnangagwa explained that the devolution and decentralisation agenda is premised on the need to enable the effective participation of communities in development prioritization, planning, implementation and monitoring. Thus, the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme 2 advances this agenda and also provides opportunities for broad based empowerment of local private contractors and suppliers.
The Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme phase 2, he said, is envisaged to create in excess of 20 000 jobs for local communities, including women and youth.
Projects under the auspices of the programme should thus be people-centered, results-driven and answer the social economic needs of communities.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa also officially commissioned Karanda Bridge which is expected to bring relief to commuters to surrounding communities, particularly patients accessing Karanda Mission Hospital.
The project was wholly funded by Treasury using internal resources.
“This is the approach my Government will continue to use going forward. I call upon beneficiary communities, to jealously protect these national assets. Allow me to take this opportunity to commend the role of various stakeholders, inclusive of the church; as essential partners for sustainable socio-economic development.
“The contribution of the Church in particular to national development and social well being of the citizenry is noted and most appreciated. I applaud the Evangelical Church for the exemplary and well renowned health care services offered at Karanda Hospital. Your role in complimenting Government in the provision of specialist health care services, human capital and skills development as well as the help to meet the spiritual needs of patients through devotion, evangelism and counseling is commended,” President Mnangagwa said.
Government is making progress in implementing projects in line with the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan-Vision 2027, President Mnangagwa said.
“The Plan calls for the rehabilitation, construction and maintenance of roads that connect to regional and continental trade corridors, The rehabilitation and modernization of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge road which has seen 158 kilometres now open to traffic as well as the Binga- Karoi road development and the Harare-Chirundu. Boli Sango, Mvurwi -Kanyemba roads, among others must be appreciated in this context.”
The event was also attended by Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon Gen (Rtd) Dr. C. G.D. N Chiwenga; the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs and Chairman of the ruling Party ZANU PF, Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri; the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mashonaland Central, Hon. Sen. M. Mavhunga; the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. F. Mhona; senior Government Officials and traditional leaders.