STATE Security minister Kembo Mohadi (pictured) had an unenviable time on Saturday sharing the same platform with his estranged wife, Tambudzani and pretending all was normal.
His situation was worsened when two of their children and their spouses arrived at an event, where the Beitbridge strongman officiated at the opening of Zhovhe Dam Leisure Park Lodge, 80 kilometres west of Beitbridge.
Mohadi, a month ago, approached the High Court seeking nullification of their marriage, saying it had irretrievably broken down.
But their political marriage subsists and Tambudzani, in accordance to their Zanu PF party protocol, had the honorary task of introducing her husband to about 800 people, who attended the function.
“My task is to introduce a man we all know, whose life journey is too long to narrate,” Tambudzani, the Zanu PF Senator for Matabeleland South said hardly looking at him directly.
Mohadi, gathering strength, took to the podium and invited Zimbabweans abroad to invest in their country.
“I appeal to you to invest back home, wherever you are home is best,” he said after telling the crowd a brief history of the Venda, his tribe.
Mohadi also spoke on his contribution towards construction of the $2 million 21-roomed thatched hotel overlooking the Zhovhe Dam.
“Some people claimed it was built on their farm. It is State land being close to the dam. I sought authority to have it here,” he said.
Mohadi also disclosed that government had secured funding for the construction of a canal from Zhovhe Dam downstream to semi-arid parts of central Beitbridge district.
The canal is set to transform the agro-industry of the dry district to ensure food security and turn into a green belt large pockets of Zimbabwe’s southernmost district.
“It is funding from Kuwait, we will turn the district into a green belt with this canal,” he said.
At least three existing irrigation schemes at River Ranch, Tongwe and Masera will benefit from the canal, although a possibility exists to open more land in areas under spotlight.
Villagers, here, whose mainstay is livestock rearing, face hardships from long dry spells that have in the past caused massive livestock deaths.
A greater plan on the drawing board seeks to have the dam, through that canal, supply areas east and north of Beitbridge town through piped water schemes to benefit Dumba, Panda Mine, Matshiloni and Lutumba and the Tshapfuche areas.
Government is also discussing with South African authorities the possibility of supplying that country’s Limpopo Province with water from Zhovhe through a multi-million dollar water plant commissioned in Beitridge last month.
Mohadi, without mentioning the amount, said construction would soon start.
“You are aware we are the district, which produces the most citrus fruit in the country and farmers are expected to expand their plantations,” he said.
Commercial farmers in the district are some of the biggest exporters of oranges, but some of the plantations were seized in the chaotic land distribution.
Mohadi took over one such citrus farm and was engaged in a legal wrangle with a relative, Given Mbedzi over another farm nearby he wanted allocated to his son.
Mohadi, in a thinly veiled political campaign message, encouraged impoverished villagers to utilise the Zhovhe Dam to overturn drought misfortunes.
“You can harvest fish and do other activities here for survival,” he said to about 800 people who attended the function.
He boasted that he would never lose an election in Beitbridge because people loved him, having spent the best part of his life representing them.
“I will retire without losing,” he told the crowd among them his cousin Handsome Mbedzi from the National People’s Party, who has challenged for the Beitbridge East seat.
“I built all the schools in the district, I have spent 40 years working for the people having started my political career when I was just 15,” he said of times quoting the Bible.
He later left quietly before lunch was served.
The owner of the hotel, Josphat Marema, who also has one of the model farms in Beitbridge, was once accused of occupying a reserved grazing land.
Speaking at the same event, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke said the hotel will have an impact on the tourism front.
“The opening of Zhovhe Dam lodges comes at a time when there is need for additional rooms in Beitbridge,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by Lindiwe Makoni, a ZTA official.