THE government has taken full responsibility for the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) sidelining the trust that has been running the affairs of the project, it emerged this week. But an
alysts quickly dismissed the move as a political gimmick ahead of the 2005 parliamentary election.
Infrastructure Development minister, Joyce Mujuru, last week told Zanu PF and traditional leaders in Lupane that the government had taken full responsibility for the ambitious programme that is now expected to cost $30 billion to complete.
A by-election is pending in Lupane where Zanu PF and the MDC are expected to lock horns in a battle to fill the seat left vacant by the death of the MDC’s David Mpala while parliamentary elections are due in all constituencies in March next year.
Mujuru told the leaders that the government would inject $2,5 billion seed money into the project as a matter of urgency as it did not want to wait for external funding.
However, when contacted for comment, Mujuru said she was on leave.
“I shall not comment on any business matters as I am on leave. I am not feeling well,” she said before switching off her mobile phone.
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust chairman, Dumiso Dabengwa, said he was not aware of the decision. He said he does not comment on issues raised by Mujuru.
“At the moment I am not clear on this matter but besides that I do not comment on matters raised by the minister,” said Dabengwa.
The MZWP involves the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam and a 450-kilometre pipeline from the Zambezi River to bring water to Bulawayo and surrounding areas.