Bulawayo (ZimEye) – The inclusive government has wrestled the ownership and management of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) from Zapu chairman Dumiso Dabengwa.
The move is said to be a Zanu-PF ploy to “fix” Dabengwa for reviving Zapu.
The Minister of Water Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (pictured) announced the MZWP takeover. A few weeks ago, Minister Nkomo also went on record declaring that Dumiso Dabengwa’s ZAPU is a non-entity and that “ZAPU died with Joshua Nkomo”.
“The decision means the MZWP effectively becomes a Government project in terms of both leadership and management. It ceases to be a regional one with Government being the accountable authority,” he said
“Apart from funding and project implementation issues, there were other important issues on the project, which could not be left in private hands.
“These include water allocation to the various sectors from conveyance system, water pricing and adherence to operational standards and others.
“Our biggest commitment from now onwards will be to mobilise resources both financial and technical for the implementation of the project including the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.”
“I cannot comment on something that I do not know anything about. This is the first time that I am hearing about the so-called take over and I am afraid there is nothing much I can say to you,” he said.
An ambitious project that seeks to end perennial water shortages bedeviling Bulawayo by drawing water from the Zambezi River was first mooted in 1912.
MZWP has moved at a very slow pace thereby worsening water problems in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces.
The first pre-feasibility studies by the Rhodesian government were in 1934 but nothing was done on the project until the 1991-2 drought that forced Bulawayo City Council and other prominent persons from Matabeleland to revisit the project.
The project is estimated to cost well more than US$500 million.
But at the time of writing, Dabengwa said he was not aware that the project has been taken over by the coalition government.