Mhona rubbishes reports road rehabilitation meant to impress guests – says SADC summit will come and go but infrastructure remains

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By Anna Chibamu

The government is focusing on the resuscitation of the country’s road infrastructure to achieve its goals of attaining development to match world standards, Transport Minister Felix Mhona has said.

Speaking to journalists Wednesday, Mhona dismissed claims that the government was only paying attention to the bad state of roads because of the  SADC Summit slated for August.

The minister was touring the Harare-Chirundu highway rehabilitation work which started at the Main Post Office in the CBD.

“Others are saying we are upgrading the roads because of the upcoming SADC Summit but this Summit will come and go but we will need good infrastructure when it comes to our roads in cities.

“In any good economy, you need good infrastructure. We are saying to the people of Zimbabwe, when we have a listening President (Emmerson Mnangagwa), and the idea of the Second Republic is to run with the trajectory of enhancing our infrastructure.”

He admitted the country’s road infrastructure had been neglected for over two decades.

“Today we are reclaiming the roads. We are not just doing this willy-nilly that we no longer need this road (Julius Nyerere) but the tarmac that we are going to use has necessitated this reclamation of the tarred road,” he said.

He added that the idea of the tours was to demonstrate work ethic.

Added Mhona: “We are descending Buhera, for that noble cause Mashonaland East, Murambinda, Birchenough Road, where such rehabilitation work will commence soon.

“When we talk of roads, they fall under the purview of the Ministry. We, however, have road authorities that administer sections of the roads.

“In cities and towns, the roads are under local authorities but alas, for the past 20 years, we have seen that our roads have been neglected and the President ordered that we cannot keep on watching the roads continuing to be decapitated to this state, and government needs to descend on even Harare roads.”

The Minister said the Harare city’s 40 roads will be rehabilitated as the Harare-Chirundu highway will be upgraded.

The highway upgrade is expected to gobble over ZW$550 million with five major local construction companies involved.

“The government contracted companies which worked on the Harare-Masvingo -Beitbridge highway namely Tensor Systems, Fossil, Masimba, Bitumen and Exodus Company will work on various sections of about 68km patch each up to Chinhoyi.

“A Chirundu Consortium will work on the highway up to Chirundu Border post.”