Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » New Lease of Life for Buhera South

Buhera South, a legislative constituency some 170km south west of Mutare, Manicaland Province, is synonymous with media headlines such as “hunger stalks Buhera South”, “Hyenas wreak havoc”, “Buses shun route” and so on.

A tour around the district will confirm the worst: the area is one of the poorest outposts in Zimbabwe.

However, change is coming to Buhera South and this change promises not only to improve the area’s standing but also to put it on the same pedestal with other districts in the country.

The knight in shining armour is the area’s legislator, Joseph Chinotimba.

Just eight months into office, Cde Chinotimba has managed to initiate development projects that his predecessors failed to implement. He has rehabilitated almost all the roads in his constituency using resources that he mobilised single-handedly.

The main road in the district linking Murambinda and Birchenough Bridge was re-gravelled and this has brought more bus operators into the route.

Prior to the rehabilitation of the dusty road, bus operators had shunned it due to its terrible condition. The damaged bridge on Nyarushanga River was recently reconstructed at a cost of US$60 000.

It was officially opened by Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, the Senior Minister of State and the ruling party’s national chairman recently. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Zanu PF Manicaland Provincial chairman, Cde John Mvundura said it was the first time in the history of the constituency to be visited by a party functionary of Cde Moyo’s stature. During the official opening of the bridge, the local MP complained that Buhera was very poor yet it was within a province with diamonds.

Man at work

Cde Chinotimba, whom many tend to despise because of his comic antics and limited academic education, has initiated development projects without the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

The development initiatives currently taking place in Buhera South fall mainly under the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster of the Zim Asset.

The cluster entails improving the supply of water, improved standards of education through e-learning, increased access to electricity and improved road network, among others.

Despite being an arid region, Buhera South is not on the Zim Asset’s priority list considered for urgent improved access to water supply. This, however, has not dampened the spirit of the MP as he took upon himself to provide water for his constituency. Boreholes were drilled in every ward while those that broke down some years ago were rehabilitated.

There is one hospital and seven clinics in the constituency, all of which were ill equipped. In line with Zim Asset’s social service delivery objective, Cde Chinotimba sourced drugs from his friends in Iran and the UK. Now every health facility in the constituency has drugs and other necessary medical equipment. A clinic is currently under construction and expected to be operational very soon in Begedhe area. Residents in the area currently walk a distance of 15km to the nearest clinic.

Buhera South has 40 primary schools which have all been repainted and refurbished.

G-tel, a telecoms company which is a proud product of the indigenisation programme, appointed Cde Chinotimba its brand ambassador.

As a result of this relationship, the telecom firm assisted in the development initiatives of the constituency. They recently launched a soccer tournament that is handsomely sponsored with all schools in the constituency getting a full soccer kit. The winning school for each season gets a computer lab and this will mark the beginning of the computerisation of schools in one of Zimbabwe’s poorest rural areas. This is in line with one of Zim Asset’s objectives of improving standards of education through E-learning.

Challenge

However, the challenge remains that of electricity to power the computers. According to Zim Asset, the energy and power supply sector seeks to, among others, increase access to electricity by rural households and institutes.

The computerisation of schools in Buhera South can be successful if alternative forms of energy are explored. With the hot climatic conditions in Buhera South, solar energy can be of great use.

Cde Moyo directed Deputy Minister of Energy, Cde Munacho Mutezo to intensify rural electrification so that computers in schools do not become white elephants.

Historically, Buhera South has been dogged by a plethora of challenges, major among them food shortages, poor road networks and transport facilities. There is no tarred road in the constituency. A primary school teacher in the area said she had to bring some debris of tarred road from outside the constituency as teaching aids for her grade four pupils, the majority of whom had never seen a tarred road in their lives. Most of the infrastructure in the constituency has been decaying over the years.

Most of the bridges in the constituency were destroyed by flash floods and never rehabilitated. At the peak of the rainy season, the roads become impassable forcing villagers to endure long distances to get a bus.

Before the delineation of 2008, the constituency was represented by the late politburo member, Cde Kumbirai Kangai. He fared well in the construction of secondary schools in the constituency. Before independence, there was not even a single secondary school in the constituency. All the 18 secondary schools in the constituency were established after independence under the stewardship of Cde Kangai.

However, little was done to upgrade the road networks in the constituency. The major road in the district, Murambinda – Birchenough Bridge, had become impassable forcing drivers to create some small parallel roads.

It used to take five hours to travel a 132km journey from Murambinda to Birchenough Bridge by bus. Most of the bus operators shunned the route because it was becoming expensive in terms of fuel, time and operational costs. The dire state of the roads was also putting the lives of residents at risk as the buses reached Buhera South at night. Hyenas took aantage of the appalling situation to prey on them.

Cde Chinotimba had to force bus operators to change their time-tables to deal with the hyena menace.

In 2008, the residents of Buhera South and other constituencies in the district decided to shift loyalty and voted the MDC-T candidates in anticipation that they would bring lasting solutions to their plights. The inclusive government had put in place some schemes like the CDF that could have enabled the new entrants to help rehabilitate roads and damaged bridges.

In Buhera South, Naison Nemadziwa of the MDC-T was given a five-year mandate to steer development in the constituency. He was armed with US$50 000 Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to kick-start development in the arid region. However, just like in other MDC-T led constituencies, that money was never used for its intended purpose. The money was used for self aggrandisement. The road network became worse and the damaged bridges were ignored.

In 2013 elections, the prodigal sons of Buhera South and other constituencies came to their senses and returned Zanu PF candidates to Parliament.

Buhera South residents have expressed satisfaction at the developmental prospects being offered by Cde Chinotimba.

Source : The Herald

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