By staff reporter
A ZANU PF senator from the Midlands lamented the lack of growth in Gokwe Nord despite the region having vast mineral deposits, tourist attractions and thousands of locals involved in cotton cultivation.
Lawmaker Maybe Mbowa believes these abundant resources are sufficient to redress the situation in the district, which shares borders with Gokwe South and several districts in Mashonaland West province.
However, Mbowa is unhappy Gokwe North has remained underdeveloped and battled with malaria which kills dozens of villagers in the area every year.
“In Gokwe Nord, we have Sengwa where there are coal deposits. We have Gandavaroyi Falls which can be a good scenic development area. We have Nyaurungwe and Chirisa animal parks, ”she told NewZimbabwe.com in a recent interview.
“All of these areas have potential for the development of Gokwe. Gokwe has a lot of scenic areas and minerals. Gokwe North is practically sitting on top of the gold. It is a place endowed with vast mineral resources which can bring significant development to the region.
“Gokwe is the hub of the country’s cotton cultivation. Therefore, there is a need to have ginning factories and cotton added value in Nembudziya, ”she said.
Nembudziya is the administrative center of Gokwe Nord. Gokwe North and South represent 50% of the cotton crop grown in Zimbabwe.
The Sengwa Power Plant, also known as the Gokwe North Power Plant or the RioZim Project, is a proposed 2,800 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant located near the Sengwa coal field in Gokwe North.
In May 2021, RioZim reported that efforts to secure funding for the start of the first phase of the project were “significantly hampered by the uncertainties presented by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
However, in June 2021, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), a Chinese multinational bank, informed Go Clean ICBC, a campaign coalition of 32 environmental groups, that it would no longer fund the Sengwa project.
Energy is already looking for alternative funders.
However, Mbowa said Gokwe North remains underdeveloped with farmers showing little success for their hard work.
“Gokwe North is lagging behind. We don’t have enough water, we need more boreholes, we need more dams, we need to rehabilitate our roads, some places are not accessible by road.
“For example, the constituencies of Chireya and Kabuyuni are not at all accessible when it rains. It is very dangerous when the roads are inaccessible. It means agriculture is affected, it even means businesses are affected. We have many challenges in Gokwe Nord that need to be addressed.
Recently, a gold rush in the Tongogara area of the district saw thousands of people descend to illegally mine the precious metal.