By Rex Mphisa
A TOP government official has accused some Cabinet ministers of often painting a rosy picture and falsifying reports of their achievements when they present progress reports to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, resulting in a monitoring unit being created.
Speaking during a tour of a cattle fence constructed along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Highway last Friday, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring of Government Projects Joram Gumbo said: “Some ministers do not tell the truth when they are reporting to the President and it is my role to monitor their work. I have been touring government projects in Matabeleland to see if the reports we receive are factual.”
“Ministers report what they did not do,” Gumbo said, confirming the general feeling among Zimbabweans that Cabinet ministers just pay lip service to their duties. Gumbo, who once served as both Transport and Energy and Power Development minister during and after the late former President Robert Mugabe’s tenure, said the $170 million cattle fence was expected to reduce animal-induced road accidents.
He also said most government projects were being derailed by Cabinet reshuffles, adding that his transfer from the Transport ministry disturbed flow of work on the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway.
“When I was head of that ministry, we had already segmented the road and moving towards allocating it to contractors to start work, but then I was moved to another ministry and a new minister will have his own approach,” Gumbo said.
“This results in delays in implementing the projects because you start planning again and this becomes a problem. At times, it takes up to five years to fine-tune a project and if you are moved, it means all that planning is time lost.”
Several companies, including Geiger International, were awarded the contract to dualise the Harare-Chirundu Road, but the contracts were terminated under unclear circumstances.
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A Chinese firm was recently awarded the contract, but is yet to begin work after indicating that it was still scouting for finances for the project.