Villagers lose hope in Nkayi road rehab

Construction of the 158-kilometre road linking Bulawayo and Nkayi business centre started in 1993 and was supposed to be completed in 1999.

Villagers in Nkayi, Matabeleland North province, said they have lost hope in the rehabilitation of the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road.

Construction of the 158-kilometre road linking Bulawayo and Nkayi business centre started in 1993 and was supposed to be completed in 1999.

However, only a 50-kilometre stretch has been widened and tarred so far.

Government this week deployed a team to Matabeleland North to assess progress on the ongoing roadworks under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) in the province.

Nkayi Community Parliament (NCP) deputy speaker, Nkosilathi Ncube, however, said there was no political will to rehabitate the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road.

“They know where the roads are in Matabeleland North in terms of their last budgets. They are wasting resources in travelling, accommodation and other logistics,” Ncube said.

“If they get money, they must send contractors to work.”

Former MDC Matabeleland North senator Chief Ndlovu said the visit by a government delegation was meaningless.

 “After the last visit by Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Felix Mhona in the 2021/22 rainy season, our hopes were raised as we believed that he had brought his technical team.

“After the minister's visit, the ministry started working on the 20km stretch. They have been working on that stretch for the past 18 months,” he said.

Ndlovu said failure to complete the short stretch of the road was deliberate.

 “The Bulawayo-Nkayi Road used to have more than 37 buses. Businesses and shop owners relied on customers to boost their businesses, but all that has been destroyed by the government’s failure to repair the road,” he said.

“The disenfranchisement of the people of Nkayi has to stop at some stage. We need serious commitment and tangible progress from the government.”

NCP member Methuseli Moyo said the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road project had been outstanding for too long.

“The government must complete that project as it is vital for the movement of people and goods between Bulawayo, Bubi, Nkayi and Gokwe,” he said.

NCP chief secretary Effie Ncube said it was clear that the road was not a priority.

“Imagine only 40km being constructed in 30 years! Matabeleland North is not a priority,” he said.

According to reports yesterday, a team led by the permanent secretary in the Office of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Marcia Tendai Nyanda, is on a week-long tour of roads in Matabeleland North province.

The team has since visited Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Lupane and Binga.

The team is expected to be in Hwange and Victoria Falls tomorrow and is expected to submit a report after the assessments.

Last year, the ministry contracted SX Construction (Pvt) Ltd to rehabilitate a 14km stretch of the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road under the ERRP2.

The company later abandoned the project citing non-payment.


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