By Moses Matenga
YOUR Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Zimbabwe, represented by you, became a butt of jokes on social media over your “peripheral” role in the Kazungula Bridge project after you initially claimed to be part of the grand project together with your Motswana and Zambian counterparts.
Government pundits were at pains to spin the narrative that Zimbabwe was already part of the Kazungula Bridge project, with some ending up confusing themselves in the process.
All we hear is that it was done to score points and portray your administration as championing huge developmental projects.
What a day it was on Monday when you attended the official opening of the project, albeit as a guest, to witness your counterparts Edgar Lungu of Zambia and Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana doing the ribbon cutting.
Your Excellency, there was absolutely no reason for your spin doctors to try and hoodwink Zimbabweans and the rest of the world into believing that the country is part of the great project when it is yet to and will only be after meeting some specifics.
What came out clear after a day of grappling is that Zimbabwe is not yet part of the project.
The spin was just to find an excuse to accuse the late former President Robert Mugabe’s administration’s lack of foresight, hence its snubbing of the project.
We are now being told that Mugabe’s government withdrew from the project due to “donor influence”, hence you pushed to be part of the critical Kazungula Bridge project when you assumed office in 2018.
Even the curving of the bridge to avoid Zimbabwean territory is now all being blamed on Mugabe.
Ironically, those throwing the late Mugabe under the bus were key strategists in his administration, with you as Gushungo’s right-hand man and confidante.
If that doesn’t make you complicit, then nothing will.
It will be folly to pile all wrongs on Mugabe and doing that with the Kazungula Bridge project is no exception.
Of course, you wanted the glory and a trophy to present to Zimbabweans on how your new dispensation is turning things around, but you should have let it pass without so much
Your Excellency, you should focus on what you can control and this includes speeding up refurbishment of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway and doing the right things that make driving in and out of Zimbabwe pleasurable.
Instead of frothing over the Zambia/Botswana-owned Kazungula Bridge that by-passed Zimbabwe, why not focus on the refurbishment of the Beitbridge Border Post that is a mess in the true sense of the word.
It is a mess because you allowed graft to flourish right under your watch. Smuggling, in some cases, involving your senior party officials, has become the order of the day.
Focus on that at least and make sure also to address the tragedy at international airports where gold smuggling syndicates continue to walk in and out with their loot undetected.
Your Excellency, it will be good for Zimbabwe if we focus on what we can handle and not bite what we can’t chew — a case of too many irons in the fire.
We have a simple choice as a country, to desperately push and become part of Kazungula or address everything bad about our trade and economic policies.
Until then, the debate on whether we are part of the Kazungula Bridge project can go on, but to what end?