Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
The District Development Fund (DDF) needs at least $4 million to rehabilitate and regravel roads damaged by incessant rains in Mashonaland West province. This comes amid reports that at least 30 structures, including bridges have been damaged in the province. Part of the money is needed to ensure roads are in a usable state when the harvesting and marketing season opens in March.
Mashonaland West province is predominantly agro-based with tobacco and grains such as maize being the most common crops.
At least $600 000 is needed in each of the seven districts with an equal amount needed to rehabilitate all damaged roads while regrading is needed in the long run.
Most of the roads have gone beyond their regrading cycle of eight years resulting in the majority falling below ground level.
This has resulted in most roads becoming muddy and slippery as water collects or cuts through the roads causing gulleys.
In an interview during a tour of roads in Sanyati district, DDF provincial manager Mr Erikano Chikande said routine maintenance is needed while funds for major regrading are being sourced.
“We appeal for funding to repair our roads which have been damaged by incessant rains that have hit the province this season while some of the damage has developed over the years,” said Mr Chikande.
“Most of the roads have developed potholes and gullies while some infrastructure such as bridges have been swept away or damaged.”
The damaged infrastructure including roads and bridges affected inputs and food relief distribution in districts such as Sanyati, Kariba, Hurungwe and Chegutu.
Bridges such as Ume and Marembera in Kariba district have been swept away while Piriviri river bridge in Makonde district also suffered the same.
Mashonaland West province has a rural road network of 2 700km with about 2 000kms needing attention while 600kms need urgent attention.
Part of the money will be used to buy cement and agrregates for the repair of damaged infrastructure.
As a stop-gap measure, government’s public works programme is helping in rehabilitating damaged roads and structures.
Director in Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Faber Chidarikire’s office, Mr Jim Kadziya hailed government for introducing the public works programme.
“People should always strive to uplift the areas they stay and the public works programme plays a critical role ensuring primary rehabilitation of infrastructure is done,” he said.
Provincial administrator Mrs Cecilia Chitiyo said roads in the province need urgent attention to ensure people have easy access to medical services.
She said Zinara and other road authorities should channel a bigger chunk of resources towards road maintenance.
“We want to keep our roads passable while plans to re-do them are being pursued in the long run. This ensures that women have access to health services on time,” she said.