George Maponga Senior Reporter
Mwenezi West National Assembly member Cde Priscilla Moyo has called on investors to fully exploit the underutilised Manyuchi Dam which she said was critical to the socio-economic development of the remote and underdeveloped constituency.
The constituency is arguably one of the least developed in Masvingo province as it is short of schools, clinics, good roads and even access to modern ICTs.
Cde Moyo decried widespread food insecurity in Mwenezi West caused by perennial droughts, despite the presence of abundant but idle water in Manyuchi which was currently supplying water to a handful irrigation schemes and Mwenezana sugar cane estates owned by Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe.
She said full exploitation of Manyuchi Dam water for irrigation coupled with investment in extraction of minerals such as gold would catapult the constituency to dizzy economic heights in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030.
In an interview with The Herald on the sidelines of a tour of the constituency recently, the Mwenezi West legislator was upbeat about the area’s economic prospects which would be anchored on full utilisation of Manyuchi Dam.
“Manyuchi Dam is currently underutilised and we are calling on investors to take advantage of President Mnangagwa’s clarion call that Zimbabwe is open for business. There are many opportunities that are presented by Manyuchi Dam particularly in the area of irrigation, fisheries and even hydro-electric power.’’
Cde Moyo said two of the largest irrigation schemes in her constituency — Dinhe and Lapache — were operating way below capacity despite abundant idle water in Manyuchi, owing to a myriad of challenges.
“There is electricity, canals at the two schemes but one (Lapache) never got fully operaional for unknown reasons while at Dinhe the problem is a malfunctional pump. We need to have these two schemes up and running and additional ones opened because water in Manyuchi is going to waste,’’ said Cde Moyo.
The Mwenezi West parliamentarian said channelling Manyuchi’s water to irrigate Tongaat cane fields at Mwenezana would only be a game changer if local youths were also allocated plots to produce sucrose in a development that will stem the worrying tide of unemployment in the underdeveloped but resource-rich constituency.
“We are counting on the impending devolution of power to provinces which we hope will accelerate the rollout of developmental projects in previously marginalised places like Mwenezi.’’
Cde Moyo said there was also need to chip in with machinery to expand the exploitation of gold currently done by artisanal miners in the mineral-rich Mateke Hills in her constituency.
A poor road and transport network, said Cde Moyo, remained a stumbling block to efforts to engender development in Mwenezi West. Plans were underway to open new roads in some inaccessible remote areas where children were not even going to school.
“Mwenezi West has the potential to become one of the best developed constituencies and we are happy that community communication centres have been opened in far-flung areas like Maranda Business Centre. We want Maranda to be the district commercial capital of Mwenezi West which is fully serviced with internet facilities. There is also need to improve mobile phone network coverage which remains very poor in the area at the moment,’’ said Cde Moyo.
The Mwenezi West National Assembly member said the designation of Rutenga Growth Point as a dry port connected by both good rail and road link would speed up the urban settlement’s growth into a modern town.
“We are happy that Rutenga town is a dry port and all the Government buildings such as the District Admninistrator’s Office, Magistrates’ Court and other key offices are being relocated to the growth point which will also house big abattoirs to process beef both for the local and export markets taking advantage of big beef herd in the district.’’
She said two major conservancies in her constituency, namely Taula under Chief Mazetese and Mjingwe under Chief Maranda, were supposed to help adjacent communities by using some of their profits to finance developmental projects.
Cde Moyo said the people of Mwenezi West were repeatedly at the receiving end of stray wild animals from the two conservancies saying a new chapter of mutually beneficial co-existence should be opened between the community and conservancy operators.
The Mwenezi West parliamentarian was voted into power in the 2018 harmonised elections after polling 26 778 votes against her main challenger, Mr Amos Hungwe of MDC Alliance who got a paltry 1 312 votes to settle for second place. Cde Moyo is also currently a member of the Zanu Masvingo province Women’s League where she is secretary for finance.