By Leopold Munhende
GOVERNMENT is planning a new tourism and trade-based town in far-flung Kanyemba, right at the confluence of the Zambezi and Luangwa rivers that spill into Mozambique’s Cabora Bassa, explaining Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s frequent visits to the area over the past few years.
The area, previously impassable has had roads, tourism facilities, schools and clinics built in the past three years.
The local Doma people, commonly known for their two toed feet (ectrodactyly) have started to see development in their area after 41 years of marginalisation.
Over 2 000 hectares have been cleared for agricultural purposes by the Ministry of Agriculture according to government spokesperson Nick Mangwana.
Mangwana, who revealed a ministerial taskforce has been routinely visiting and assessing progress could not share monetary value of the project.
“During election campaigns there was a team which toured Kanyemba including VP Chiwenga and it was realised the area was too underdeveloped,” said Mangwana.
“The presidency then spearheaded development of the area as the Doma people there still survived on hunting and gathering without any schools, clinics, roads or roads. There is now a new town being built there. As soon as President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in, a ministerial taskforce was set to regularly ascertain development needed and assess progress,” he said.
Although the media has carried a lot on the extremely traditional or ancient manner in which the Doma had been living, very little to nothing had been done.
The population of around 18 000 has remained situated by both geography and human plot far from modernity.
Their language is also not constitutionally recognised.
Videos of people in awe at the area’s new beauty have recently been shared on social media with some indicating land there is now being sold at as little as US$1,60 per square metre.
The Department of Immigration has setup a border point, reducing illegal crossing into or from the two neighbouring countries while the education ministry recently opened two new schools there, according to Mangwana.
The Information Ministry has built signal carriers to ensure reception of local transmission while the Energy Ministry had been exploring options of importing electricity for the new town from Zambia by connecting Zimbabwean pylons to its neighbour’s grid.
Separate reports indicate there are considerations the town could be made solar based.
“When we initially visited the area the only way to get there was the use of helicopters. The roads headed there are now being tarred and it takes just less than six hours to get there now. When finally complete, the city will reduce the distance to the east coast (Tanzania, Kenya) by some 600km. There is a lot to benefit from the town as it is in proximity to two of our neighbours (Mozambique and Zambia),” Mangagwana said.