By Andrew Murenha
VILLAGERS in Nembudziya, Gokwe and surrounding areas are making brisk business using their own manpower or ox-driven draught power to drag cars struggling to pass the district’s flooded rivers.
So bad are the roads in the area that even area MP, Zanu-PF’s flamboyant Justice Mayor Wadyajena, has previously had to abandon an offroad sport utility vehicle after it struggled to cross a river.
Villagers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Voice said the most notorious spot during the rain season is at Kawongo Bridge along the road that connects Gokwe South and Gokwe North via Nemangwe.
A haulage truck spent the better part of yesterday stuck in the muddied road as the local youths mobilised manpower while the driver sourced the funds for the lorry to be pulled across.
“It’s a pitty that I am just an employee trying to go about my business, buy I have to pay the local folks some “tollgate fee” for the men to either to pull and push my truck across,” said the driver.
“I’ve been stuck at this bridge for a while day running around to source the ‘fees’. Other motorists have been paying between US$5-00 and US$10-00 for them to cross the flooded Kawongo River.
“Unfortunately, my truck is loaded and much heavier such that the locals have really gotten an opportunity to milk me dry.
“Authorities really meed to fix this problem because it crops up yea after year,” said the driver, sounding distraught after hours on end on the spot.
By around 1400hrs, his haulage truck that was carrying cement to Nembudziya was still trapped on the bridge.
But it’s not like authorities are not aware of the recurrent challenge at Kawongo bridge. In February this year, Justice Wadyejena had a rather heated exchange with Information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana over the matter.
Wadyajena had tweeted an image of a haulage truck submerged on Kawongo river water while trying to cross the bridge.
Mangwana shot back at Wadyajena and correctly identified the truck as belonging to the World Food Programme which was delivering food aid to the area.
“A haulage truck carrying World Food Program drought relief food destined for Nembudziya, Gokwe has run into problems at Kawongo river,” Mangwana wrote.
In response, Wadyajena suggested that the problem was beyond thr capacity of ward Councillors or the MP, and accused Government of doing little to ensure infrastructure remained intact in the Midlands area.
“Cde Nick let’s be honest, Gokwe North is being neglected. Old dispensation did zilch & still no infrastructure development there yet we see you post tarred roads to Chivi. Relay my message to your pals Hon @JbMatiza and @MthuliNcube, we’re now FED UP! I represent people not trees,” Wadyejena wrote on Twitter.
In 2018, Wadyajena, who owns a US $400,000 Lamborghini Urus among other supercars, struggled to retrieve his Toyota Landcruiser from the same spot while on the campaign trail. – Zimbabwe Voice ■