GOVERNMENT has intensified its effort to transform hitherto marginalised communities into areas of growth with capacity to economically contribute to national development.
This is being done under the Devolution Programme and Vision 2030.
Zimbabwe’s Devolution Programme is largely founded on the principle of empowering Provincial Government councils to spearhead economic and social development projects in their areas by leveraging on local resources.
In addition, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched Vision 2030 which seeks equal and inclusive development.
Followed through, Vision 2030 seeks to attain an upper-middle class status in the next 10 years.
“…this plan speaks to a broader national plan which Government has drawn up to bring to speed all areas in the country which were colonial backwaters but which actually have unique endowments,” Deputy Chief Secretary — Pesidential Communications in the Office of the President George Charamba is on record saying.
Areas that have been earmarked for development include Chiredzi, Kanyemba, Binga, Gwai-Shangani, Beitbridge, Pfungwe and Kotwa, among others.
For years, development seemed to elude most of these small rural outposts.
However, that has all changed under the Second Republic.
The areas are now receiving deserved priority in national developmental programmes under the ongoing devolution exercise and the national masterplan.
For instance, Kanyemba District, situated where Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique meet, is going through rapid transformation in fulfilment of the President’s vision ‘to leave no one behind’.
The area is home to the Doma tribe, popularly known as the ‘two-toed’ tribe.
Devolution is the Government’s programme founded on the principle of equal development through empowerment of local governance structures to spearhead economic and social development by leveraging on local resources.
The Government and private companies are forming a beeline to previously marginalised communities offering and implementing development strategies, in line with the devolution agenda.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who is currently on a national outreach programme of empowering different communities, has led by example.
She has made numerous trips to Kanyemba in her efforts to ensure the community has access to health care services, decent accommodation, education and food security.
Similarly, Kanyemba has, on many occasions, played host to Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga and several senior Government officials.
The community is fast changing.
There are plans to import electricity from Zambia, while health facilities, like clinics, are being upgraded and a state-of-the-art hospital is being developed. Private players have also joined the initiative.
Enhanced Mortgaging and Housing Africa (EMHA) business development director Robert Gonye believes the private sector should be active in supporting Government programmes.
“We have made it a point that we support Government programmes in all ways possible. Our aim, as a construction company, is to provide affordable houses to all low-income earners. However, we are also open to constructing business premises in these previously under developed areas,” said Gonye.
“As places develop, there is need to open industrial spaces. Business activities should not only be centralised in the capital. Government’s plan to turn Kanyemba into a town by 2023 is practical. That is why we are carrying out construction work in the district. Everything is hinged on modernising the area.”
Gonye reckons devolution and the masterplan were the missing link in national development strategies.
“The Government has paved the way for us. It is easy to conduct developmental work when we have conducive and supporting policies. The Government, through the devolution exercise, is in the process of developing Kanyemba. We have since come up with our programme ‘Musha Une Chimiro’, which is our small way of assisting their plan in developing some of these previously marginalised areas,” said Gonye.
Musha Une Chimiro housing project aims at providing low cost accommodation for low and middle-income earners.
Through the programme, EMHA is assisting landholders with no capacity to build decent houses realise their dream of owning proper homesteads.
“This is a new project that we started recently. We currently have a presence in Chivhu, Kanyemba and Mutoko. In Shamva, we built a school block at Enterprise Primary School. Also, we have our teams in areas like Pfungwe and Kotwa, identifying areas we can chip in,” revealed Gonye.
“We appreciate that we have artisanal miners, vendors and farmers in these areas who also need proper accommodation and business facilities. Therefore, we have come up with this flexible plan in which we build homes and business structures for them and they pay us back in instalments, say over a three or five-year periods.”
Emmanuel Bonzo, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, said EMHA made his dream come true.
“Generally, it could have taken years for me to build this new home I now have. But through Musha Une Chimiro, it was made possible in a matter of a few weeks. The builders were fast to the extent our community now calls them ‘shonko’ — a name we give to a native bird that builds its nest very fast,” said Bonzo.
Bonzo is now a proud owner of a three-bedroomed house with fitted wardrobes, a pantry, dining and sitting room, big kitchen, two outside toilets with a flushing system and a bathroom.
Kanyemba previously did not have such structures.
“Often people use makeshift structures in this area and these create challenges, especially during heavy rains or when wild animals encroach into human settlements,” he said.
“…this is the kind of attention that we have been yearning for.”
EMHA, through Vice-President Chiwenga’s prompting, has also constructed homesteads for some Cyclone Idai victims.