BULAWAYO – Transport minister Joram Gumbo says the projects initiated by former legislator Jonathan Moyo in Tsholotsho were not his (Moyo) but government’s initiatives and as such they will be completed.
Gumbo urged people in Tsholotsho to set aside their political differences and embrace development in their communities.
There have been general sentiments among the people of Tsholotsho who fear that the unceremonious departure of Moyo who was largely credited with spearheading development in the district was going to leave the district further marginalised.
Moyo, who was also the minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, skipped the border at the height of Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ Operation Restore Legacy.
Before his departure, the legislator had managed to spearhead the construction of a 120-kilometre road from Tsholotsho to Phelandaba Business Centre and the resurfacing of the Tsholotsho Business Centre tarred roads.
However, Gumbo had no kind words for those who are bent on politicising and personalising government projects.
“The people of Tsholotsho must stop politicising these projects,” Gumbo said.
“I am a minister of Transport therefore I am the one who is in charge of the projects.
“This is a government project not Jonathan’s. Whoever believes that since Jonathan is gone nothing is going to happen, is lost because it was never his from the onset,” he said.
“It’s just as good as saying that since Jonathan was the minister of Education, then schools have to be closed since he is gone, no it does not work like that,” he said.
Gumbo confirmed that money has already been poured into the construction of the 120 km road which he officially commissioned in April 2015.
“You can get in touch with our provincial engineer and he can tell you how far we have progressed in terms of the construction. We have availed the money through Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Authority) to make sure everything is in place and nothing is going to stop us from completing the project,” he said.
The minister could, however, not be drawn into revealing the amount government has since committed to the project.
At one point the project stalled for almost a year at the height of factional and succession wars in the ruling Zanu PF, with Moyo claiming being victim of sabotage on many of his projects which included construction of the Tsholotsho Stadium and irrigation schemes which he had initiated among others.
In July last year when Southern News visited the district, Tsholotsho Rural District Civil engineer Lawrence Nhandara confirmed that construction had resumed.
“The funds had been exhausted because we had been given $600 000, so when the funds dried up the contractor pulled out,” Nhandara told Southern News.
“But the contractor (Shawgun Pvt Ltd) is back on the site, the equipment arrived two weeks ago,” he said.
When the contractor abandoned the site due to non-payment, about 46 kilometres had been gravelled.
“We really hope this time around there will be a steady flow of the funds.
“When everything was in order, 120 kilometres could have taken us about two months. We are also worried about time because surfacing of the roads cannot be done when it’s raining,” he said.