Loom­ing town sta­tus ex­cites Rutenga folk

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Masvingo & South-West News - In­crease Gumbo in MWENEZI

MWENEZI res­i­dents have hailed the ini­tia­tive by the lo­cal ru­ral district coun­cil to push for an up­grade of Rutenga Growth Point into a town, as the devel­op­ment will bring crit­i­cal ser­vices such as bank­ing closer to them.

Rutenga is one of only two ma­jor busi­ness cen­tres in Mwenezi that ser­vice more than 140 000 peo­ple in the re­mote district.

Res­i­dents said its up­grade into a town could spur eco­nomic growth in Mwenezi, with in­vest­ment ex­pected to flow into Rutenga.

There was una­nim­ity dur­ing a re­cent con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing held at Rutenga — at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Nhewa Town Plan­ners, Mwenezi RDC and res­i­dents — that up­grad­ing of the growth point into a town was long over­due.

“We are happy with the ini­tia­tive be­cause turn­ing Rutenga into a town will at­tract more in­vestors, hence we will have many shops, banks and even big­ger hos­pi­tals and other crit­i­cal ser­vices com­pat­i­ble with this mod­ern age. When ser­vices are closer to the peo­ple, they also be­come more af­ford­able,’’ said Ward 18 res­i­dent Mr Pau­los Mab­hena at the meet­ing.

“If Rutenga be­comes a town, it means im­proved recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties. Our chil­dren cur­rently have nowhere to re­lax save for roam­ing around the shops and this may force some of them to end up en­gag­ing in il­licit acts like drink­ing beer and smok­ing,” he said.

An­other Rutenga res­i­dent, Mrs Diana Dzi­novei, noted that turn­ing the growth point into a town will lead to the es­tab­lish­ment of big pro­cess­ing com­pa­nies and in­dus­tries that cre­ate em­ploy­ment.

It will also stem the mi­gra­tion of young peo­ple from ru­ral ar­eas to ma­jor cities, she said.

Cur­rently, res­i­dents are be­ing forced to travel close to 200km to ac­cess bank­ing ser­vices either in Masvingo or Chiredzi.

Mwenezi RDC chief ex­ec­u­tive Mr Al­bert Chivanga said coun­cil will con­tinue con­sul­ta­tions with res­i­dents in the district to en­able coun­cil to im­ple­ment pro­grammes that are in sync with the peo­ple’s wishes.

Mwenezi has al­ready started mo­bil­is­ing re­sources to en­gage a con­sul­tancy com­pany that will draw plans on how to up­grade Rutenga into a mod­ern town.

District Ad­min­is­tra­tor Ms Rose­mary Chingwe said up­grad­ing Rutenga into a town is one of her of­fice’s ma­jor pri­or­i­ties, as devel­op­ment would eco­nom­i­cally trans­form the en­tire Mwenezi district.

“It’s my sec­ond time to be a DA here in Mwenezi, so it means I should do some­thing. We are tired of hav­ing an area which does not have banks, su­per­mar­kets yet we can do some­thing about it. We want banks here at Rutenga, which is strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned by be­ing a tran­sit point ser­viced by rail and road net­works that link it with ma­jor cities in Zim­babwe,” she said.

Be­sides its strate­gic link with ma­jor cities in the coun­try, Rutenga was also linked to Mozam­bique by rail­way line and to South Africa by road.

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