NEW: Engineer Kabikira’s vision for development

27 Feb, 2024 - 12:02 0 Views
NEW: Engineer Kabikira’s vision for development

The Sunday Mail

Online Reporter

THE recently appointed Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Engineer Benjamin Kabikira, is a man on a mission.

At just 34 years of age, his journey from rural Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central province, to the hallowed halls of Government is marked by an unwavering dedication to his community and a passion for development.

Born in Honde Valley, Manicaland province, on October 22, 1989, and raised in both Mutare and Centenary, Eng Kabikira’s journey into politics began while he was studying civil engineering at the University of Zimbabwe.

During those days, he began actively participating in student politics.

However, his heart remained in his rural home — Muzarabani.

After graduating in 2014, he decided to return there, determined to play a role in its development.

“There is generally a lack of development, especially with my constituency — Muzarabani South,” he told The Sunday Mail recently.

“I realised that most of the MPs were people coming from other constituencies and districts.”

Witnessing what he felt was a lack of attention paid to his constituency by previous representatives, Deputy Minister Kabikira entered the 2023 parliamentary race, driven by a desire to see tangible improvements in the lives of the community.

“It is my passion to see my constituency developing,” he continued.

“During the campaigning period, I was using my personal funds, and the amount of money that I used just to develop my area is quite significant.

“The people realised that if this person is using his own funds to develop this area, he will do more if he is our representative in Parliament.”

His campaign was not just about words; he used his own resources to initiate various projects, including renovating the local clinic, constructing school buildings and improving roads.

“I constructed nearly five classroom blocks from scratch,” he said.

“I have my own construction company, so I was utilising this capacity.

“Whenever I managed to get building materials, I would take my builders to the constituency, and then they did the construction projects.”

He said he also worked on rehabilitating local roads, which were in a deplorable state.

“The roads in our area are in a very dilapidated state, so I was contributing fuel to the local authority, then they would provide us with a grader to rehabilitate the roads,” he added.

“I also realised that our people do not have access to clean and safe water.

“So, I was buying cement, then engaging with the local leadership for the construction of wells.”

He said he also distributed day-old chicks to women across the constituency to start income-generating projects.

His dedication resonated with the voters, and his victory propelled him into the national spotlight.

President Mnangagwa recognised his tenacity and hard work and appointed him deputy minister, one of the youngest in the Government.

Now, as deputy minister, Eng Kabikira sees his appointment as an opportunity to leverage on his professional background and experience to serve the nation.

“My professional background is something that is in sync with this ministry,” he explained, highlighting the potential benefit his civil engineering expertise can bring to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.

“I was appointed to the right ministry.

“Why do I say that?

“Because my professional background is something that is in sync with this ministry.

“So, I believe that this ministry is going to benefit a lot, especially from my professional background.”

As deputy minister, he said one of the pressing issues he seeks to address is the ongoing challenge of illegal settlements.

He also underlined the ongoing efforts to tackle the issue of housing shortages by attracting investors interested in developing the sector.

“I think the Government’s position is very clear about the issue of illegal settlements,” he said.

“It is very important to make sure that we sanitise our land first.

“Proper procedures that need to be taken for one to acquire land must be followed.”

The recent discovery of gas in Muzarabani, he said, presents exciting possibilities for his constituency and the nation.

“We are very excited because of that discovery,” he said.

“We expect that the establishment of oil extracting firms and processing plants will create jobs for the unemployed youths.

“And with the resultant industrialisation, our areas are going to grow into big towns.”

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