The Member of Parliament for Umzingwane William Dhewa says there has been no development project in his constituency over the past 15 years and he attributed this to lack of “true and genuine leadership”.
Dhewa is a Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front legislator. The seat was previously held by the Movement for Democratic Change.
Plans for a hospital at Esigodini had been on the cards for 20 years yet land for the project had been identified, surveyed, set aside and pegged, Dhewa said in his contribution to the President’s Speech in parliament.
“Development in most aspects of the livelihood of the people of Umzingwane has been docile, and as a result maintenance of existing infrastructure has been very poor. No new projects have been realised for the past 15 years.
“It is a responsibility that I have accepted and I will, therefore, not take it for granted, as for the past 15 years, they have been yearning for true and genuine leadership from their revolutionary party, ZANU-PF which understands their needs,” the legislator said.
Dhewa said he did not appreciate food handouts urging instead that the government should assist communities in coming up with sustainable strategies which will make them self-reliant at the end of the day.
These included setting up irrigation schemes and using water from Umzingwane and Mtshabezi dams.
“Communities in Umzingwane do not benefit from these water sources. It is therefore prudent for the government to speed up the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam so that water from the five dams in Matebeleland South can be released for irrigation programmes that will tremendously benefit the Umzingwane community by increasing agricultural productivity,” he said.
Dhewa’s full contribution:
MR. DHEWA: Thank you, Madam Speaker for bestowing me this opportunity to contribute towards the Presidential Speech. Firstly, l would like to congratulate you on your election to the esteemed post of the Deputy Speaker of this august House.
I would also want to congratulate His Excellency the President, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe for resoundingly winning the 31 July Harmonised Elections and election as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Madam Speaker, allow me also to applaud all honourable Members of Parliament who were fortunate to be elected to represent their respective constituencies, some of whom have since been elevated to assume ministerial posts in the Executive.
My final congratulatory message goes to Zimbabweans for voting peacefully and entrusting the revolutionary party, ZANU PF with the mandate to govern the country. Madam Speaker, let me specifically also mention my gratitude to the Umzingwane electorate for showing their faith in me to represent their concerns and interests in this august House.
It is a responsibility that I have accepted and I will, therefore, not take it for granted, as for the past 15 years, they have been yearning for true and genuine leadership from their revolutionary party, ZANU PF which understands their needs.
Madam Speaker, let me, at this point, make reference to the Presidential Speech as presented to us on the 17th September 2013, during the official opening of the First Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, giving a legislative agenda for this Government.
In the Speech, His Excellency mentioned issues which are of concern to the development and economic empowerment to Zimbabweans in general and to Umzingwane Constituency specifically.
It is undisputable that His Excellency’s remarks were informed by people’s and communities’ aspirations for robust strategies of economic stability and development.
Madam Speaker, concerns for development and strategies for achieving the same were well stressed in 2000 when the UN Member States set the tone by agreeing to the 8 Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015.
If one is to go through the Presidential Speech and ZANU PF manifesto which is based on empowerment, indigenisation, employment and development, it will be inevitable to plausibly conclude that the Government is pursuing the road to achieve all the 8 MDGs as clearly indicated in the ZIM ASSET.
Madam Speaker, development in most aspects of the livelihood of the people of Umzingwane has been docile, and as a result maintenance of existing infrastructure has been very poor. No new projects have been realisedfor the past 15 years.
Madam Speaker, let me hasten to say Umzingwane Constituency has prioritised MDG 1 on the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Noting that drought as a result of climate change is the major source of poverty in my constituency, both human and livestock require urgent assistance in terms of food for human consumption and stock feed.
The constituency has focused on rehabilitating irrigation schemes and encouraging small scale gardens and the establishment of feedlots per ward. This, Madam Speaker, can be achieved by constructing dams with irrigation potentials.
The land reform programme, Madam Speaker, left communities entitled to new irrigation schemes that need to be rehabilitated, such as Zimbili Irrigation, Potburn and Crocodile. The Mtshabezi-Umzingwane Pipeline that is now complete should not only ferry water from my constituency to Bulawayo but should create a green belt along the 35km route it has taken.
Madam Speaker, communities have already identified areas of irrigation and I therefore urge the Government to build reservoirs on the existing five outlets for people to start irrigation. This project cuts across five wards and its success will not only provide food for the district but will also create employment and improve source of income in my constituency. There is no doubt that if the project is successful, food handouts and distribution will be minimised and channeled to other areas of priority.
Madam Speaker, in as much as we appreciate food aid, my constituency is discouraging free distribution of food and the Government should assist communities in coming up with sustainable strategies which will make them self-reliant at the end of the day.
Madam Speaker, Bulawayo City Council draws its water from five dams located in Umzingwane including the new Mtshabezi dam.
Communities in Umzingwane do not benefit from these water sources. It is therefore prudent for the Government to speed up the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam so that water from the five dams in Matebeleland South can be released for irrigation programmes that will tremendously benefit the Umzingwane community by increasing agricultural productivity.
In terms of agriculture, Madam Speaker, it is necessary to provide adequate input facilities for cropping and implements for farmers. It is also of importance for the Government to avail loans that are easily accessible by farmers. In addition, there is need to come up with programmes that will assist in building livestock herd in the constituency.
Madam Speaker, health service delivery is important to our respective constituencies and to address MDGs 4, 5 and 6. My Constituency focused on constructing new clinics in newly A1 resettlement areas and improving the handling of equipment in old clinics. The designated hospital at Esigodini has been operating without doctors for a long period and the old buildings are in a dilapidated state.
This therefore, pushes for the establishment of a new modern hospital at Esigodini. The plans of the hospital have been on the cards for the past 20 years and land has already been identified, surveyed, set aside and pegged.
New rural health centres are also required to cater for those wards that are not covered in terms of Government policy. New clinics need to be constructed in Zimbili A1 resettlement, ward 8, and all rural clinics should have pre and post antenatal rooms and the necessary equipment for pregnant women.
Madam Speaker, I am aware of the devastating effects of sanctions on our economy. Sanctions have led to the dilapidation of infrastructure. Equipment is now obsolete and maintenance has been difficult due to financial constraints. People now understand the situation and I would like to thank His Excellency for establishing Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOT). These have proved that ownership of resources by communities is more empowering than any other programme.
In my constituency, there is one of the most gold producing mine, Metallion Gold Mine (How Mine), but it has not played its corporate social responsibility through ploughing back its dividends. I urge the Minister responsible to investigate on the matter. The Sovereign Wealth Fund should also start flowing to constituencies without minerals and resources. These funds will go a long way in developing our own people and make us less dependent on external donors.
Madam Speaker, access to education needs a lot of improvement both in providing necessary infrastructure and quality. In the education sector covered under MDG 2, the main focus of the Umzingwane Constituency is to build both secondary and primary schools in A1 resettlement schemes. Most of the current schools are still at the old farm houses regarded as annexes in terms of their status and this necessitates the construction of at least two primary and two secondary schools in the resettlement areas.
Madam Speaker, although rural communal areas do have schools, the infrastructure is in a bad state and the constituency has been struggling to rehabilitate that infrastructure. In view of this Madam Speaker, rural electrification should be extended to all schools, business centres and newly resettled areas.
Quality of education in our secondary schools needs improvement, especially in the provision of appropriate equipment and infrastructure to teach science subjects. It was discovered that of all secondary schools in the district, none is offering science subjects such as mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics as a result of lack of the required technical equipment. This will continue to disadvantage our children as they will not have access to NUST or Gwanda University.
My constituency is therefore establishing centres of excellence for the teaching of science subjects including Maths. At the same time, we have plans to build modern laboratories once our CSOT receives money.
Focusing on the girl child, a boarding school is under construction specifically for girls and priority will be given to those in A1 resettlement areas. May I thank His Excellency for donating in the construction of one dormitory for the school? I have no doubt that with the help of CSOT which I emphasise should be speeded up, the school will be opened by 2015 at the latest.
Madam Speaker, I was excited to realise that local authorities through ZINARA and the Ministry of Local Government have received motorised graders. Let me take this opportunity to thank the minister responsible for the job being done, continue with the same spirit. We will advise the local authorities to prioritise road construction and I believe that with some of the road equipment still on its way, this problem is almost solved.
Madam Speaker, in cognisant of efforts to maintain and construct roads by local authorities, let me also express concerns of the constituency with regards to provision of clean and safe water. Shortage of boreholes is a thorn in the flesh for my constituency and I therefore call upon the minister responsible through local authorities to look into the matter.
Borehole drilling machines should be given to local authorities and DDF. I believe that two local authorities can share and maintain one borehole drilling machine. This will help in ameliorating water shortages for our people, particularly those in A1 resettlement scheme. My constituency currently needs 35 new boreholes and three piped water schemes and resuscitation of six piped water schemes.
Umzingwane RDC runs one growth point and three rural service centres where there is a pronounced need for houses, particularly in Esigodini. Esigodini Growth Point is surrounded by indigenous private farms, thus limiting its expansion and development. The housing list for the district is at 7600 and in view of this, the district now needs more land to service and sell to people. In addition, the district is aiming at a massive brick molding project that will supply those building houses. At the moment, land for servicing about 600 high density stands has been identified.
In conclusion Madam Speaker, I would like to thank His Excellency for launching 59 CSOTs and may I say that prospects for developing Umzingwane are vast. The district can a be tourist haven because it is endowed with natural and historic sites which include Mtshabezi Dam, Lumene Falls, Fort Umlugulu, Rhodes Indaba. The district also has gold deposits and if properly managed, mining can turn the fortunes of the district especially through employment. There is also need to give necessary support to small scale miners.
Horticulture is also the mainstay of the district’s economy and farmers need to utilise the land they were given and diversify into other agricultural brands. Madam Speaker, I am highly confident that the establishment of Umzingwane Community Share Trust Fund in line with the indigenisation and empowerment policy will not only address the developmental challenges, but will cut the umbilical code of dependency on Government and donor funding.
I thank you.