By Tapuwa Mutizamhepo
The activities leading to the conduct of the July 2013 harmonised elections remain, imbedded in minds of most Zimbabweans both old and young, it was the first ever election to be held in Zimbabwe under a “new people driven constitution” popularly known as the Copac constitution which ushered many things that the previous Lancaster constitution that had been amended 19 times had never covered.
Not only that, but what made the election more interesting was that sworn political nemesis, President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party and the then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC T outfit where squaring against each soon after “divorcing from a marriage of convenience”, called the Government of National Unity, that had come as a result of a heavily disputed 2008 election.
Electorates from different constituencies began to experience unusual visitors in their constituencies, some names they never knew, came to them, promising to do anything and everything their mouths could utter.
It was campaign time, prospective Members of Parliament were visiting their constituencies canvassing for votes and in most cases bringing with them some “niceties”, which had to be shared in the constituency and promising to do more once they landed a seat in the August house. Some fell short of promising to deliver Jesus Christ to their constituencies!!
Nyanga North is one such constituency, Political foes, ZANU PF’S Hubert Nyanhongo and MDC T’s Douglas Mwonzora had crossed swords, battling to outfox each other to land the right to be a representative for Nyanga northerners in the house of Assembly and….. it was an interesting time!!
Hubert Nyanhongo emerged the winner, he had won the hearts of “his people”, his promises, and once implemented as he had said would transform Nyanga North into something that it had never experienced since independence. “The time of lip service was over”, he had declared, the constituency could not help but only wait to see one their own in action.
Fast forward to 2017, four years and a couple of months after the plebiscite, and a year into the next election, people in Nyanga are wondering what could have gone wrong, what could have happened to the man who had great dreams to put the constituency on the map.
The road infrastructure in the constituency is in a sorry state, the Binya road which links Nyanga Town and Ruwangwe Growth Point is only but a bed of potholes, yes potholes in a dust road!, the same story with the one that links Nyangombe Camp and Dumba business Centre, the locals claim the roads were last serviced well before the 2013 elections.
The poor harvests experienced in the 2015/2016 agricultural season have compounded the situation in the constituency, many villagers’ food stocks have dwindled forcing them to having meals once a day, trying to manage the little grains which have to take them to the next harvests, around April next year, provided the rains will be adequate.
A villager from Chirangeni Village in the constituency’s ward 8 says, he last saw Mr Nyanhongo during election time.
“I think the last time I saw Mr Nyanhongo was during the election period, when he was making a lot of promises like other politicians do, he said he would see to it that the issues we had raised with him would be addressed, but up to now we don’t even know where he is, it seems he has forgotten about us and enjoying the luxuries of city life, whilst we continue facing the problems he promised to address”, said the villager.
“Our children are going to school on empty stomachs, the drought experienced in most parts of the country did not spare us, whilst other constituencies have their MPs doing everything they can to help avert the hunger in their constituencies, what compounds our situation is that we don’t have anyone to tell our challenges, both the councillor and the MP seem not to bother about us”, added the villager.
Another villager from Matinha who declined to be named, echoed the same sentiments saying what surprised him was that other MP’s were initiating various developmental projects in their constituencies.
“What surprises me is that whilst our own MP is seated on his laurels other MP’s are busy implementing various projects in their constituencies, for example (Hon) Supa Mandiwandira (Nyanga South MP and Minister of ICT) is doing a lot for his people, part of the Binya that falls under his constituency is in good shape because it is constantly graded, but this side, we have gone for about four years now without anything being done on the road”, he said.
“Only early last year Supa donated an Ambulance to Nyanga General Hospital, computers to Nyatate High School and medical supplies Nyatate clinic, whilst we don’t even know the whereabouts of our own MP”.
“I wonder what business he conducts in Parliament, I doubt if he ever made any contribution that benefits us in Parliament, we are like orphans, we have no one to tell what we are going through”, said the seemingly livid villager
A Mr Nyamahumba from Sangoma village, had this to say. “In this village we have a single borehole that services over three hundred households, and when it breaks down, villagers most of whom are the elderly, have to endure a three kilometre journey to the next borehole in Mangezi village or in the worst case a five kilometre journey to Mashumba village for safe water, draught power has not helped either as the livestock are too frail to draw the carts”, said Mr Nyamahumba villager.
He added, “irrigation activities that have been a source of livelihood for the locals have been suspended due to decreasing water levels from the nearby Nyatsanza dam, which is the watering for human and animals in the surrounding eight villages.
“Our children from Pfigu, Mbiriyadi, Mashumba and Sangoma villages have to endure a six kilometre journey to and fro Kazozo Secondary School, a situation that has negatively impacted on their pass rates as they often reach school already tired”, he said
Efforts to get a comment from the Hon Nyanhongo were futile.