‘Mat North roads need urgent attention’
MINISTER of State for Matabeleland North Province Ambassador Cain Mathema has said roads in the province are in a bad state and need urgent attention to boost tourism.
Ambassador Mathema was giving welcome remarks at the commissioning of the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls International Airport by President Mugabe on Friday.
He implored the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to speedily dualise the Victoria Falls Road so it complements the new-look airport and lures more tourists.
“Today is one of the greatest days for Matabeleland North as we celebrate what your Cabinet and party Zanu-PF has done in the province. You have built us a city by building this airport,” said Ambassador Mathema addressing President Mugabe.
He said the province is the backbone of the country’s tourism sector hence the need to develop road infrastructure.
Ambassador Mathema outlined a number of roads around the province that need urgent attention.
“Your Excellency, at first we thought you were just renovating the facility but you ended up creating a virtually new airport.
“This is the best airport in Zimbabwe…it is so because Matabeleland North is the mother of tourism in the country.”
“We need infrastructure development as Matabeleland North and we plead with the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Dr Joram Gumbo to refurbish the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway. We don’t want it widened but dualised because we have too many trucks that are wider than the road,” said Ambassador Mathema.
He said he expected Dr Gumbo to honour “his promise to work on the road.”
“We expect the Minister to work on this as he has promised. We have many roads such as Cross Dete-Binga-Siabuwa, ManjoloKariangwe, Tsholotsho-Bulawayo, BulawayoNkayi-Manoti and Lupane-Nkayi that need urgent attention for this tourist province,” he said.
Ambassador Mathema said his vision was to transform Matabeleland North into a commercial province where every villager has access to water.
Dr Gumbo said plans are underway to dualise Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway with feasibility studies already done for the Beitbridge-Bulawayo stretch.
Government is working on other major roads such as Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu.
Speaking at the same occasion, deputy president of the Chief’s Council, Chief Mtshane Khumalo implored the Government to work on the Kariba-Victoria Falls Road which he said was critical for tourism.
There is no major direct road between the two tourism towns and motorists travel via Bulawayo and Harare which is longer.
“We welcome the airport as Victoria Falls is important to Zimbabwe because all visitors to the country come through the airport. We thank the Minister of Transport who saw it fit to lure more visitors through this facility.
“We also appeal for construction of the Kariba-Victoria Falls Road along the Zambezi River as that is strategic to our tourism where those who can’t fly can tour the country,” he said.
Victoria Falls International Airport is the third the Government has commissioned over the past few years after JM Nkomo in Bulawayo and Buffalo Range in the Lowveld.
It was constructed by China Jiangsu through funding from a $150 million concessionary loan from China Exim Bank. — @ncubeleon
Ambassador Cain Mathema