Water Resources Development and Management minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo on Tuesday said there was no need for military involvement in the construction of Umzingwane-Mtshabezi pipeline project as the contractor on the site was doing a splendid job.
Nkomo was responding to calls by Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Governor Cain Mathema for military intervention in the project to expedite the process.
Mathema said he invited the Ministry of Defence after realising Nkomo’s ministry was taking long to complete the project.
But, on Tuesday Nkomo through his personal assistant Butholezwe Nyathi, said: “Mtshabezi pipeline is well on course and as of end of May 2011, has recorded a 57% completion rate compared to the 30% achieved as of the year 2009 since the project was formulated in the early 90s.”
“We last visited the project on Friday 24 June and we are impressed with progress. Some prophets of doom were stung by the progress being recorded and have invoked their machinery to seek to discredit the project,” he said.
“The army has no role in the construction of the pipeline as the project has a bona fide contractor, China Nanchang, who are doing a brilliant job and have the capacity to successfully complete the project,” said Nkomo.
“Is it because someone is seeing that the project is commencing well and has suddenly decided to be associated with the success that it is going to be?
While the project is indeed important in the medium-term alleviation of water challenges in Bulawayo, its urgency should not be dramatised, vis-à-vis, its history of a poor implementation rate and the impressive implementation rate now being recorded.
“The agenda is not about Mtshabezi water, but a cheap political war by the public media and its merchants of doom bent on branding my ministry as a poor-performing ministry. Our achievements to date speak volumes.”