By Hazvinei Mwanaka
Legislators from rural constituencies in Masvingo Province say issues of drought, water shortages and high transport cost are affecting the welfare of people and development in the province.
In an interview, Bikita East legislator Johnson Madhuku said he not able to meet with councillors in his constituency to plan development because the price of transport is unsustainable.
“The high cost of transport in the country has also not spared us here in rural areas. We have challenges when it comes to meeting with councillors as some are not able to attend meetings and so that slows developmental work because we are not meeting as often.
“At times I use my own car to ferry them. We hope with the introduction of ZUPCO buses it will be much easier for everyone,” he said.
Honourable Madhuku added that the other challenge is that his area is near conservancies and peoples’ livestock are being killed by lions.
“We constantly engage National Parks to help us but all they do is to just scare them away because of the laws that we have,” he said
Also speaking on the challenges Gutu North legislator Yeukai Simbanegavi said poverty has put legislators in a difficult position as they have to decide between addressing hunger or development.
“People are looking for something that will just put food on their tables. Let’s say you want to build a bridge, people are not willing to come, they are looking for short term solutions to their problems they no longer have an appetite for future and long term solutions,” she said.
Honourable Simbanegavi added that poverty has seen a lot of people expecting too much from legislators to the extent of wanting them to buy coffins, beer and food at funerals among many other things.
Chivi Central legislator Ephraim Gwanongodza said people are faced with massive hunger and the food being distributed is not enough adding that most water sources have since dried up.
Gutu East legislator Berta Chikwama concurred with Honourable Gwanongodza adding people did not get much from the past agricultural season.
“Last farming season, most people did not harvest much since our area is very dry. I just encourage them to grow drought-resistant crops,” she said.