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Recently I visited Emaphaneni communal lands in Kezi in Matopo district. The road network in the area is in dire bad state. I witnessed narrow bridges that are falling off, the roads have been turned into gulleys and in some areas roads are now small streams due to rains that have eroded the roads. It was terrifying to watch water overflowing over the bridges and people attempting to cross. The question that came to me is where is the rural district council as they are mandated to construct and maintain drains and bridges, I hope revenue collected is not all used to pay hefty salaries for top management at the expense of service delivery as has been revealed the past weeks and the trend over last four years in some parastatals and local authorities. Is the ministry of local government, rural and urban development, department of Civil Protection Unit are seem to be oblivious and waiting for communities to be cut off or befallen with a catastrophe before they act on this dangerous development. One community member intimated that sometimes people are made to sleep on river banks waiting for the rivers to cease the overflow to cross the bridges.
Authorities must be reminded that in the event that there is total cut off of communities there will no alternative ways to transport the sick to clinic and hospitals, no accessibility for people in urban areas to send food to their loves ones. Children suffer the most as they not able to go school and worse with recent results that showed some schools in Matabeleland South fairing badly in grade seven final examinations. This could be one of the reasons that teachers do not make it to the schools on time due to inaccessible roads as water will be overflowing over the narrow bridges and obviously they will not risk their lives.
It is embarrassing that there still areas inaccessible 34 years after independence and self determination, children still have to be escorted to schools to cross rivers; powers that be must be ashamed of this archaic ways. The country is richly endowed with resources and must not rely on development aid from foreign missions but find home grown solutions to revamp our road networks. The solution does not lie only in reviving the notion of District Development Fund (DDF) and engaging international organizations but harness local available resources from local investors and refurbish the roads and other related infrastructure. Over the years a number of reports have been recorded citing communities that have been cut off, people losing lives whilst attempting to cross flooded rivers, every year during the rainy seasons but nothing is being done in order to deal with these perennial problems. The government must implement sustainable strategies to curtail the problem of poor roads in rural communities. I think we can do better as country.