By Fungai Lupande
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro says there is need to capacitate the District Development Fund (DDF) to enable it to effectively pursue the development of rural areas.
Speaking during the commissioning of Hambe and Sapa bridges in Mbire District last week, Cde Karoro said the DDF was in urgent need of equipment.
The two bridges were swept away 15 years ago and people were failing to access Chitsungo hospital, Chirunya clinic and a secondary school in ward 8 during the rainy season.
“DDF needs tippers, graders and lorries to make a huge impact in the rural areas,” said Cde Karoro.
“Our Government is organised and has money for such big projects, all you need is a leader who can knock doors,” said Cde Karoro.
“I went to see DDF permanent secretary Mr James Jonga over these two bridges. Within a short period work had started. I was humbled by villagers who volunteered to assist DDF staff during construction of the bridges,” he said.
He implored Mbire Rural District Council to support Government projects in the area.
“Mbire RDC is not supportive of Government programmes. Lets work together and support the development of the province,” he said.
DDF provincial coordinator Mr Clement Keni Mutombo said they were confident that they had built strong bridges that would not be swept away due to sagging soil.
“This time we constructed stronger bridges we doubt that they will be swept away. We were allocated $300 000 for the bridges and we used $316 000. We took $16 000 from other projects,” said Mr Mutombo.
“Construction started on February 1, this year and we expected to complete the projects by end of October. However, due to shortages of cement and fuel we finished later than scheduled. The community was very helpful.”
Headman Chirevo thanked the Government and DDF for construction of the two bridges as people died during the rainy season after failing to cross the river to access medical attention.
“We had cases where people that were referred from Chitsungo Mission Hospital who died at the hospital after failing to cross them during the rainy season. The bridges were swept away 15 years ago and we had lost hope.
“We thank President Emmerson Mnangagwa and DDF for remembering us,” he said.
Deputy Minister Karoro conferred certificates on 33 Youths Build Zimbabwe members who helped in the construction of Sapa Bridge.