By ANDREW MUKOMA
GWEMBE Valley Must Develop (GVMD) society advocates have petitioned Infrastructure and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi over the deplorable state of the bottom road.
The advocates have complained that despite the road being significant to the valley people of Chirundu, Siavonga, Gwembe, Sinazongwe, parts of Kalomo and Zimba districts, the previous government did not pay much attention to improving the road network connectivity in those areas.
Winter Muvombo, the lead advocate has told the Daily Nation that people of the valley felt neglected by the past governments and therefore, the onus was on the UPND government to redeem itself and fulfill the people’s plights.
He said that people are having challenges in movements because of the poor road network in the hilly terrain.
Mr Muvombo said, during the colonial rule, government displaced the Tonga people of the valley from the ecologically rich Zambezi River plains due to the construction of the World Bank funded hydroelectric power generating Kariba Dam in the late 1950s.
He said that the dislocated communities were resettled in the adjoining uplands of Chirundu, Siavonga, Gwembe and Sinazongwe districts where they did not access the electricity and waters of the Kariba Dam as well as the wild animal resources in the safaris and national game parks abutting their new villages.
Mr Muvombo said this state regulated decoupling from the local natural resource asset base generated a politicised sense of entitlement to those resources spearheaded by a generational cohort of educated activists that emerged in the 1990s.
He said with the new dawn government in place, he is hopeful that the plights of the people of the valley starting with improved road network, quality healthcare services, education services, telecommunications services and empowerment among women and youths will be addressed.
Mr Muvombo noted that many people’s homes in the valley have no electricity, despite it being generated from Lake Kariba – which lies in the valley that used to be their home – and supplied to cities hundreds of kilometers away.