BY MOSES MATENGA
ZIMBABWE is set to join Zambia and Botswana in the Kazungula Bridge project after the late former President Robert Mugabe’s government snubbed the project due to “donor influence”.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday joined his other Sadc colleagues as a guest during the official opening of the bridge although government officials claimed Harare co-owned the bridge together with Botswana and Zambia.
Zambian and Botswana leaders Edgar Lungu and Mokgweetsi Masisi, respectively, officiated at the event, with speeches by the two governments mum on Zimbabwe’s role on the project.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, however, said the project was snubbed by the Mugabe administration due to “donor influence”.
“The Kazungula Bridge had to curve after the first republic in Zimbabwe objected to the project because of donor influence. With agreement, the bridge would have been a lot shorter,” he said.
Charamba added that Zimbabwe re-joined the tri-national Kazungula Bridge project after the second republic and was expected to meet a third of the total cost of the facility to back up its stake.
“Negotiations are currently underway, and will entail development of a border facility on the Zimbabwean side, as well as the widening of the Kasane-Victoria Falls City Road. Victoria Falls city is a key destination for the area.”
The project is meant to facilitate trade through reducing transit time for freight and passengers and a reduction in time-based trade and transport costs and improvement in border management operations arising from the new one-stop border facility.