ONCE again it’s election campaign time and it is time to reopen those dusty “to-do projects” filed away from the last election.
For Zanu PF in Matabeleland, there
cannot be a bigger “to-do project” to win them votes than the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP).
The Sunday News of August 1, in a headline story, reported that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had given the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust $25 billion to “start construction proper” of the first phase of the MZWP.
Sadly for the government and Zanu PF, the people of Matabeleland have heard this all too familiar story before – a classic case of promises and lies.
They have been waiting for 24 years for the Zanu PF government to construct this pipeline that would see the emergence of a greenbelt across the region and the city of Bulawayo being transformed into the industrial hub of the nation.
But, not surprisingly, the government has continued to offer lip service on the matter.
What is evident is that the government has been punishing the people of Matabeleland for their political inclinations since Independence.
This region has never voted in support of Zanu PF in any election since 1980 and people of this region are paying for their political “sins”.
The promise to construct this pipeline is as good as the promise to compensate families of the victims of the Gukurahundi massacres – hollow.
Many will remember how the Johnstone Mnkandla-led commission was set up by the government to compile a list of would-be beneficiaries.
That report never saw the light of day. The same holds for the MZWP. The government only wants to construct this pipeline when Matabeleland votes “correctly” – for Zanu PF.
What is even more alarming is the lack of political will from the top echelons of goverment towards this project. Even the Minister of Water Resources (Joyce Mujuru) never speaks about this project!
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, who is not in government, is the one who has to pledge money for such an important project while central government remains quiet. This raises questions about how serious government is about removing the Matabeleland marginalisation tag.
An MDC government, realising as it does, the importance of water for humankind and the development and economic prosperity of the country, would not spend 24 years talking about the MZWP.
The MDC will offer an action-centred approach to ensure that this project is completed in the shortest possible time.
MDC Information & Publicity secretary (Bulawayo province).