The Sunday Mail
IMPLEMENTATION of the devolution programme is transforming Kanyemba district, the rustic small area located on the south bank of the Zambezi river at the extreme northernmost point of Zimbabwe.
For years, development seemed to dodge this small rural outpost.
However, that has all changed under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.
The area, which is home to the VaDoma tribe, popularly known as the two-toed tribe, is now receiving due attention and priority in developmental programmes.
Devolution is the Government’s programme founded on the principle of equal development through empowerment of local governance structures to spearhead economic and social development by leveraging on local resources.
The Government and private companies are forming a beeline to previously marginalised communities offering and implementing development strategies, in line with the devolution agenda.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has led by example.
She has made numerous trips to Kanyemba in her strong-willed efforts to ensure the community has access to health care services, decent accommodation, education and food security.
Kanyemba has on many occasions played host to Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga and several senior Government officials.
The community, which was previously known for its thick jungles and the absence of basic amenities like electricity, is fast changing.
There are plans to import electricity from Zambia, while health facilities like clinics are being upgraded and a State-of-the-art hospital is being developed.
Now, a construction company, Enhanced Mortgaging and Housing Africa (EMHA), has pledged to support the Government’s initiative through their “Musha Une Chimiro” housing project.
EMHA specialises in providing low cost accommodation for low and middle-income earners.
The company is assisting landholders with no capacity to build decent houses realise their dream of owning proper homesteads.
Mr Emmanuel Bonzo, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, had struggled to build his home for years.
“The outlook of my home has changed,” said Mr Bonzo.
“Generally, it could have taken years for me to build these structures.
“But with this programme, it was possible within a short space of time.
“I had spent a long time planning and struggling to put resources together.”
Mr Bonzo is now a proud owner
of a three-bedroomed house with fitted wardrobes, a pantry, dining and
sitting room, big kitchen, two outside toilets with a flushing system and a bathroom.
Such structures have until recently been alien to Kanyemba.
They were a preserve of the elite.
“Often people use makeshift structures in this area and these create challenges especially when we receive heavy rains or when wild animals encroach into human settlements.
“That is why most residents now opt for these strong and modern buildings,” he said.
“The builders were fast such that our community now calls them ‘shonko’ — a name we give to a native bird that builds its nest very fast.
“I hope the company will receive support and continue developing our area.
“This is the kind of attention that we have been yearning for long.
“At this rate, Kanyemba will be a totally different place in three or so years.”
EMHA business development director Mr Robert Gonye reckons the Government’s plan to turn Kanyemba into a town by 2023 should be hinged on modernising the area.
“Our aim is to provide affordable houses to all low-income earners,” said Mr Gonye.
“We do not segregate. The Government, through the devolution exercise, is in the process of developing Kanyemba and ‘Musha Une Chimiro’ is our small way of assisting their plan in this area that has already been accorded a Special Economic Zone status.”
He said the developer’s work was not limited to Kanyemba.
“This is a new project that we have just started and we currently have a presence in Chivhu and Mutoko. In Shamva we built a school block at Enterprise Primary School,” Mr Gonye said.
“We appreciate that we have artisanal miners and farmers in these areas that also need proper accommodation facilities.
“Therefore, we have come up with this flexible plan in which we build homes for them and they pay us back in instalments, say over a three or five-year period.”
EMHA, through Vice President Chiwenga’s prompting, constructed a homestead for Ms Lolin Mudzingwa from Chivhu who lost her homestead to Cyclone Idai.
“To be honest it’s like a dream. The structure I lost was nowhere near this new house. I don’t think I was going to be able to build such a beautiful home in this lifetime. I have realised that there is God,” said Ms Mudzingwa.