By Mbekezeli Ncube
BULAWAYO pressure groups and politicians have given President Emmerson Mnangagwa an 18-month ultimatum to complete the refurbishment and commissioning of the Egodini Mall.
The project has been stalled since the closure of the popular bus rank in 2015.
However, Bulawayo residents feel their city was being marginalised by the government after work on the completion of the Kudzanayi bus rank in Gweru, which took only a few months.
The Gweru bus terminus was re-opened by Mnangagwa last week.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary, Thembelani Dube, said they were giving Mnangagwa an ultimatum of 18 months to upgrade into a regional facility.
“Urban generation feeds well into the vision of an upper-middle-income economy and the refurbished state-art-of-the-art Kudzanayi bus terminus is exactly what we expected to happen to Egodini Project in Bulawayo. As BPRA we expect the same to happen to the City of Kings,” Dube said.
“The Egodini project is long overdue. We are looking forward to seeing the president officially opening the state-of-the-art Egodini Mall within the next 18 months. If that happens, as Bulawayo residents, we will be extremely happy for such a development to come to fruition,” Dube said.
Mthwakazi Republic Party President Mqondisi Moyo added: “I am not surprised that Mr. Mnangagwa officially opened the Gweru bus terminus, meaning it has been completed. It’s likely that he has influence in its refurbishment and the completion, because it serves mostly his people.”
Midlands is Mnangagwa’s home province.
Ibhetshu Likazulu coordinator Mbuso Fuzwayo said doubted Mnangagwa considered Bulawayo as part of Zimbabwe.
“What bothers me is that a similar or even bigger Egodini project in Bulawayo, which has been on hold for years remains incomplete. No progress can be observed there,” Fuzwayo said.
“Mnangagwa has never been a friend of Matabeleland, even during his days in various ministerial portfolios. He does not see it as a part of Zimbabwe. Doing this he is not alone, this is the general attitude of the government of Zimbabwe since 1980.”
ZAPU spokesperson Msongelwa Ndlovu said he is not surprised by the delays in completing Egodini Mall because Zanu PF is known for failing to complete Matabeleland projects.
“We have a whole state president officiating at functions to open toilets and lodges. This is a sign the leaders have too much idle time and lack real ideas on moving the country forward,” he said.
“Secondly, with this is typical of Zanu PF, whether old or so-called new dispensation, some regions are given priority and resources allocation from Treasury while others like the Egodini project and Gwayi-Shangani dam are clear testimony that Zanu PF treats those in Matabeleland as aliens we hope that the voters will respond in a befitting manner in 2023.”