Political expedience and greediness over pursuit of diligence, integrity, and professionalism would best sum up the state of Zimbabwe road infrastructure, Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers president Bernard Musarurwa has said.
Musarurwa made the remarks while addressing a three-day road maintenance, construction, and repair workshop in the capital last week which was organised by a technical skills training service giant, Afriskills.
“What aches the most with today’s road construction service providers is that they are just out to pocket the most out of projects they work on thereby affecting the quality of their work. There is neither passion nor zeal to leave a lasting positive mark.
“You get to a road construction site and ask the workforce the standard specifications they will be using, to your dismay, you realise they do not even know of any at least, it is just for money not passion,” said Musarurwa.
This explains why roads built in the pre-independence era are still intact while 2000s’ roads, just a few years after their completion will already be going through some maintenance patches.
“This has nothing to do with the material, to say, pre-independence road construction materials were stronger than today’s. People are just out to pocket money, they don’t apply the specified measurements, they judge with eyes,” he said.
He accused politicians of abusing their power especially around elections time as they force local authorities to forego standard procedures involved in road construction and maintenance.
“Politicians have also been major players to the sorry state of our roads. In my experience, I have encountered quite a number of cases where the local authorities are forced to skip the formal procedures because a politician in the area wants the work started and done in time to reinforce their campaign material.
“The next rain season we are seeing that road in shambles bringing us to square one all because of hurried work,” he added.
Meanwhile, as Zimbabwe is battling to upgrade and resuscitate its dilapidated road infrastructure across the country, up to three flyovers in the Harare Central Business District are risking a collapse.