Ray Bande Senior Reporter
NYANGA Rural District Council Ward 26 by-election winner Cde Bisset Mapeta (Zanu-PF) has spelt out his vision that is premised on the desire to fulfil his election campaign promises to the electorate.
Cde Mapeta wrestled the seat that has been under the opposition MDC-Alliance since 2005.
He beat MDC-Alliance candidate Mr Vincent Bopoto by 397 to 236 votes in a ward with 1 260 registered voters. He attributed the poor voter turnout to rampant retrenchment of workers by timber companies which forced those affected out of the area in search of livelihoods.
Nyanga RDC Ward 26 fell vacant after the death of Clr Elias Mashumba (MDC-A) at Bonda Mission in April, after a short illness.
The area is predominantly a forestry area which covers Erin, Selborne and Mutarazi areas. Cde Mapeta’s immediate goal is the establishment of a secondary school in the ward.
“We made it clear during the campaign that we want to develop this area,” he said.
“We promised people to establish a secondary school, and we have already started the process.
“We have school children traveling long distance to the nearest secondary school, and that has to stop.
“The problem is that we have been electing people that do not have a sense of belonging to this area. They come here for work and at a point leave this without any meaningful development.”
His other focus is to lure investment from around the world for classy tourist destination sites — Mtarazi Skywalk and Skyline.
Cde Mapeta also intends to facilitate key rural infrastructure development and undo the timber plantation colonial set-up still existing in the area.
“We lack key rural infrastructure in this ward; we do not have basic things like shops because of the colonially-inherited set up that restricts the plantation workers to tuck-shops owned by the timber processing companies,” he said.
“We want to do away with this and create space for those who want to set up businesses. We also need a clinic in this ward. This is the only ward in the district without a clinic.
“If you do not work for the timber company, you cannot be treated here. You have to go to Nyanga or Bonda hospitals.
“In the long term, we also want to lure meaningful investment around Mtarazi Skywalk and Skyline as well as hydro power projects.”