George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Rural roads are set for a major facelift in line with Vision 2030 after President Mnangagwa secured 300 Belarus tractors to boost the capacity of the Rural Infrastructural Development Agency (RIDA) to maintain gravel and earth roads for the speedy movement of goods and people.
The intervention by the President to boost RIDA’s fleet dovetails with the Second Republic’s drive to promote rural industrialisation through development of infrastructure, particularly roads, that are key enablers for socio-economic growth.
RIDA has been central in upgrading and maintaining rural roads under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP), which fits within the frame of the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) that is building the country’s momentum towards becoming an upper middle income society by 2030.
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet Lovemore Matuke yesterday said President Mnangagwa had sourced 300 tractors from Belarus to accelerate the upgrade of the country’s roads.
Road repairs in rural areas are in line with the Second Republic’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.
“President Mnangagwa sourced 300 tractors from Belarus for RIDA to upgrade and maintain the road network in rural areas where the roads are mainly gravel and earth and need to be constantly attended to so that they are always in good shape and are trafficable, especially considering that the majority of our people live in rural areas,” said Minister Matuke.
“These rural roads need to be in condition as they also link our people in the rural areas to the country’s major cities and towns where they often travel to, in search of services that are not found in rural areas. In the spirit of not leaving anyone and any place behind, the President managed to get some tractors from Belarus for boost RIDA’s capacity to attend to rural roads.”
Delivery of the tractors is already underway, and they are being allocated to provinces.
Minister Matuke paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for walking the talk in the quest to socio-economically transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle income society by 2030.
The drive to improve rural roads shows that the rural folk also feature prominently in the national development matrix.
Over 31 000km out of the 78 200km of Zimbabwe’s earth and gravel rural roads are managed by RIDA, making the department a key player in the nation’s drive to improve the road network, to stimulate socio-economic development by enhancing faster movement of goods and human traffic.
RIDA has also been at the forefront of building bridges along most of the country’s gravel and earth roads, allowing communities that were previously cut from other provinces to freely move to other areas, markets, clinics and schools. Besides managing the rural road network, RIDA has also been drilling and repairing boreholes in rural areas, in the process improving the living standards of people.