By Settlement Chikwinya
The government through the Ministry of Transport and using CMED as the implementing project vehicle, embarked on a program dubbed EMERGENCY ROAD REHABILITATION PROGRAM with phase 2 commencing in 2021.
The project was based on 2 strategic outcomes.
The first was an attempt to reverse the growing support especially for President Nelson Chamisa in most urban areas and even rural local authorities.
By usurping the powers of local authorities in road maintenance through direct implementation by central government and bypassing the city fathers, Mnangagwa thought that he would take back the lost love from mostly urbanites.
The plan was rolled out soon after 2018 Elections with central government through ZINARA not remitting the statutory funds collected on behalf of local authorities. This meant that the local authorities were set to fail in their mandate to provide road rehabilitation and maintenance.
In as far as suffocating the councils and indeed destroying the roads infrastructure, the plan worked well.
Mnangagwa then unleashed the CMED to be the central vehicle of implementing all road rehabilitation after declaring the state of the roads a national disaster in 2020.
By declaring a national disaster on the roads infrastructure, ED gave central government direct access by central government to be involved in road maintenance bypassing local authorities. This also meant using central government funds outside the budgeted amount.
By doing this initiative, the boys had now been invited to the looting table and so began strategic goal number 2 – to loot state funds.
Road rehabilitation contracts were parcelled out to cronies and family members without due tender procedures.
It became a jobs-for-boys adventure as the inner circle looted the emergency funds dry while doing substandard work to the bad roads that had attracted a state of emergency declaration.
Funny names suddenly cropped up among contractors including one that simply came to Kwekwe to sweep a badly potholed road and took away millions of taxpayers’ money in a typical “Tora Mari United” style.
The company literally swept the road with brooms and did nothing else besides splashing a few quarry stones which they swept away again leaving the road in a state resembling an empty crate of eggs.
Poor work was done across the whole country with even Minister of Transport, Hon Felix Mhona declaring that the roads must be redone, but the question is at whose expense? What are the consequences to the contractors who did the poor work?
With the rains now upon us all. The roads have become worse than before such that ED has to declare a double state of emergency. It’s a shame!
The citizens bear the brunt of funding these projects and at the same time continuously lose motor vehicle suspension and are prone to fatal accidents.
The road rehabilitation contracts must be awarded to reputable companies that can perform as per public expectation and deliver value for money.
The citizens demand that such contracts must be awarded to local companies with capacity so that there is community check on our local contractors whom we live with and also use the same roads with.
The notion of parcelling out tenders over a bottle of Two Keys Whiskey in Sherwood results in such bad workmanship that goes unaccounted for.
The citizens must reflect over such behaviour by the government and Zanu PF as and when an opportunity for Elections arises and punish the culprits accordingly by voting for change that delivers.
Settlement Chikwinya is Mbizo Constituency CCC parliamentary candidate in the 26 March by-elections. He is also the CCC Secretary for Transport.