Irked By Poor Roads, Villagers Urge Authorities To Deliver Poll Promises

Bulawayo-Tsholotsho road is in a poor state with villagers saying the road is being used by politicians to campaign. Image by Habbakuk Trust

BY CALVIN MANIKA | @The_CBNews | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | MAY 6, 2022
The promise of improved roads in the district from the ruling Zanu PF and opposition parties continues to anchor election manifestos ahead of the elections.

TSHOLOTSHO (The Citizen Bulletin) — Travelling along the Bulawayo – Tsholotsho road is a painful experience for motorists including scotch cart drivers.

Potholes in a strip, dust and uneven surface describes the road, 42-years after Independence.

A stretch from Nyamandlovu to Tsholotsho is in a poor state despite the district being home to some government ministers including the late Vice President John Nkomo.

Former Education minister and Matabeleland North Governor Cain Mathema resides in Tsholotsho.

Onias Moyo, a villager, says a journey on the battered road is unbearable.

“As far as I can remember this road has been ignored,” Moyo says. “Occasionally, the District development Fund (DDF) or those from the roads department can be seen putting some gravel and so forth but in practical terms, they are doing nothing.”

On February 9, 2021 the central government declared the state of the country’s roads a national disaster.

An Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) was announced to give the roads a new lease of life.

In Tsholotsho, a promise of a good road network was at the heart of the election campaigns of various political parties ahead of the 2018 polls.

“The central government will also explore ways of financing the tarring of most roads in the rural areas. The District Development Fund (DDF) will rehabilitate at least 3 bridges and regravel 300 kilometers of roads per year over the next 5 years in all rural provinces,” the ZANU PF manifesto reads.

In 2021, while officiating a 2, 4 km newly reconstructed stretch along the Nyamandlovu - Tsholotsho road, Matabeleland North Provincial Roads Engineer Stephen Kamutema says the road will be fully rehabilitated in 2023 when Zimbabwe votes.

“We are doing our roads in 20 km phases so in the coming 2 years we should be up to Nyamandlovu and that’s our vision to have that road up to Tsholotsho,” says Kamutema.

In 2021 the central government set to start road repairs on Bulawayo-Tsholotsho and Bulawayo-Nkayi roads.

Ahead of the March 26 by-elections, political parties also centered their campaigns on improving the road infrastructure.

“To us, it’s an old song. We are tired of such lies. We want implementation not speeches, roads not long meetings. Roads make us accessible, a fertile ingredient for business,” says Luckmore Ndlovu, a villager.

“The road has been bad for a longtime. The most affected is us, the villagers, because at intervals we go to town in Bulawayo to replenish our supplies.”
Sibongile Tshuma, another villager

“So, we need at least good roads for connectivity. At least, we still have some local transport operators who are servicing this route for the sake of love and maintaining our long standing relationships.”

ALSO READ: Explainer: Matabeleland's Battle Between Zanu PF and Opposition Parties

On 15 April 2021, the government set aside $33, 6 billion for the ERRP.

The fund is committed to the rehabilitation of 10 000kms of the country’s roads.

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Local government, Elections, Tsholotsho

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