THE long awaited Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) had appeared to be gaining pace under the inclusive government era, but it’s now back to business as usual for the Zanu PF-led administration.
MZWP has been on the cards since 1912 and despite all the rhetoric, successive Zanu PF governments have not made any significant progress in implementing the project that is viewed as the long -term solution to Bulawayo’s long running water shortages.
Zanu PF has put infrastructure at the core of its latest economic blueprint – ZimAsset – and water should be one of the areas that would accelerate that development.
The previous Water minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo — to his credit — had managed to put the MZWP among the government’s priorities by pushing for investors.
He went went as far as China to seek potential investors and there were promises that some Chinese institutions would pour in some money. Nkomo also set up an advisory board led by prominent farmer Donald Khumalo that was expected to spearhead the project after years of political haggling.
However, over eight months since a new Water minister Saviour Kasukuwere was installed, the government has not said anything about MZWP. Environment, Water and Climate permanent secretary Prince Mupazviriho had nothing to say about the project when Southern Eye sought to establish why the government had been quite about MZWP.
He referred questions to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.
There were reports last month that construction of Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which would anchor the MZWP, had ground to halt and up to now Kasukuwere and his ministry have said nothing about that set-back.
It would be sad if this silence has anything to do with politics. Zimbabwean politicians tend to be very petty and it would not be suprising that the new minister could be reluctant to build on the progress made by an MDC-T minister.
MZWP is bigger than all the political parties in Zimbabwe and the Zanu PF government would be judged harshly by generations to come for dithering on MZWP.