Zanu PF, BCC trade barbs over poor state of Byo roads

Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni says Government is partly to blame for the poor state of the roads in the city as it has failed to rehabilitate some of the roads it took over two years ago.

Speaking at the first full council meeting of the new year, Wednesday, Mguni said they were facing criticism from their “political detractors” who were “twisting facts” and “doctoring them to their political advantage”.

This is after Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu was quoted by the state media saying that the opposition had turned Bulawayo into a “growth point”.

In response, Mguni said the collapse of the city’s road network in the last two years “is attributed to the failure of the central government’s emergency roads rehabilitation programme”.

“As the adage goes, statistics don’t lie, 2021/2022 saw the erratic or non-disbursements of allocated ZINARA funds, some of which were diverted towards the government’s ERP programme. This saw 18 of Bulawayo’s roads taken over by the department of state roads, CMED and various associated contractors”.

Of the 18 roads, the mayor said only three were completed: Masiyephambili, Njube main road and Masotsha Ndlovu.

“Twelve of the said 18 roads are at zero percent, these are Matopos road (3km), Leopold Takawira (7,8 km), Old Khami road (5.3 km), Khami road (5,2 km), Plumtree Road (2,8 km), Intemba road (10km), Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (1,2 km), Lobengula Street (1,1km), Cecil Avenue (6km), Victoria Falls Road (9km) and Gwanda Road (9km),” said Mguni.

He added that three of the 18 roads were partially done and “the quality of the work is questionable”.

“Fife Street (2,7km) is only 50 percent done, Nketa Drive (2,1km) is said to be 50 percent done, and a section of the said road is bleeding in Mpopoma near Hyde Park Road. CMED has tried to rectify this problem without success. 60 percent of 12th avenue extension is said to be done.”

Mguni rallied councillors “to speak with one voice as we call upon the central government to disband the ERP which has had a deleterious effect on the city’s road maintenance efforts”.

“Instead of being an active player, Government must capitalize on local authorities to handle their roads maintenance units in the spirit of devolution of power,” said the mayor.  

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