Abigale Mupambi, the National Coordinator of the Civil Society and Churches Joint Forum has urged the government to expeditiously complete the construction of Nkayi Road.
The maverick civil society leader was reacting to the news on New Zimbabwe Vision to the effect that the construction of the road had been put on hold allegedly because funds allocated for the project in the 2021 budget had been diverted.
According to the publication, the construction of the road began in 1993, but three decades later, less than 50km of it have been resurfaced with funding shortfalls from the government blamed for the failure to complete the project within agreed timelines.
It was reported that the project has been moving at a slow pace so much that in 2015 and 2017 only 3km and 1,5km stretches of the road were upgraded, respectively. The road links Bulawayo and Nkayi and also provides a direct link between Bulawayo and Gokwe. New Zimbabwe vision reported that Transport and Infrastructural Development deputy minister Mike Madiro told parliamentarians on Tuesday that the Nkayi Road construction project had been put on hold as funds have been reallocated elsewhere.
”The project had been allocated a budget to construct 5km in 2021, but as the honourable member is aware the national road network was declared a state of disaster and all funding that had been allocated for road construction has now been reallocated to road maintenance,” Madiro said.
Mupambi argues that the Nkayi Road should not continue to be neglected that way since it is a major road that connects Bulawayo, Midlands, and Matebeleland North – in particular Nkayi and Gokwe.
“The government must take us seriously on this one. Matebeleland North contributes a major fraction to the national fiscus through its rich natural resources base. It doesn’t add up why after over 40 years of independence, the Nkayi Road is neglected. To make matters worse, we learnt that every time Nkayi Road gets its allocation, the money is further diverted to what is called “important priorities”. This must stop honestly. For how long should we continue to beg for what is rightfully ours? I have no doubt that this dispensation has done fairly well in terms of road construction but this issue of not prioritizing the Nkayi road is a disturbing one,” Mupambi said.
She added that President Mnangagwa must be made aware of the plight of Matebeleland North people with regards to this issue.