In August 2009, Zimbabwe’s unity government announced that had secured US$1 billion to transform the country’s main highway, running from the South African border in the south to the Zambian border in the north into a dual carriageway. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the 1000-kilometre road, the busiest in the country, would be developed by different private investors on a build, operate and transfer basis in 200-kilometre segments.
As someone who advocates the construction of dual carriageway in Malawi, I was so excited when I read about this development. The other reason for my excitement is that Zimbabwe’s main highway links most Southern African countries to South Africa, the region’s economic hub. Actually, when I was studying in Durban, I traveled on this road on several occasions. Therefore, its dualization will be a boon, not only for Zimbabwe, but for the whole region.
I am, however, becoming so skeptical about this project. I have been searching the net for the latest developments in this project, but I have found none. I expected that by now (close to two months down the line), the Zimbabwe government would have come out with more details about the project i.e. the names of the investors, the contractors that will be engaged, the lifespan of the project, etc. Even some of my Zimbabwean friends do not know what is happening. The Zimbabwe government does not have to keep this information under wraps because a project of this magnitude will affect the whole Southern Africa region. If they are not ready, they should not have made the sensational announcement in the first place.
I have now started thinking that this whole thing is a mere political gimmick aimed at showing the suffering Zimbabweans that the unity government is working very hard towards rebuilding the country. What do you think?