BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
BINGA, one of the districts in drought-prone Matabeleland North province has continued to be exposed to poor road infrastructure, communication facilities and water shortages despite several non-governmental organisations operating in the area.
In an interview, Zewuka 1 village head in Mabobolo area, Bright Munkombwe said villagers were travelling long distances to find transport.
“In my area, people travel 18km to the nearest gravel road to access transport. In some cases, one can spend two to three days waiting for transport. We have high death rates in the area because even if someone is ill, we cannot access any ambulance as the area has no roads,” Munkombwe said.
“We practise large-scale farming, but because of the poor road network, we find it difficult to market our produce.”
Munkombwe said during the rainy season, communities find it difficult to cross rivers and streams as there are no bridges.
“Our nearest network booster has a coverage of 10km, and in most cases, the signal is very weak,” he said.
“The area has no permanent source of water. Communities depend on shallow wells, which usually dry up in the early weeks of September resulting in water problems. There are no boreholes in the area.”
Munkombwe said their area is also infested with elephants so in most cases, these animals destroy the ponds.
“People and animals travel about 15km to access water once the ponds dry up,” he said.
Chief Dobola of Mulindi said they have one borehole that covers 10 villages.
“Life has been hard, especially in terms of accessing water. We travel about 10km to get water. We have one borehole and Dobola has 10 villages and we all have to depend on that borehole,” he said.
“Our livestock has been constantly dying and we have tried engaging the government, but none of its promises have been fulfilled. Villagers are allowed to get two buckets of water per day so that everyone can have access to it.”
Binga district development co-ordinator Farai Marinyame was not reachable for comment.