Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga has announced plans to address the water challenges bedeviling Gwanda district by constructing Thuli Manyange dam, among others, and drilling high yielding boreholes.

Addressing thousands of party supporters who had gathered at Ntepe Secondary School under Chief Nhlamba yesterday, Vice President Chiwenga said the government is aware of the perennial water challenges faced by the drought prone region.

He said construction of the Thuli Manyange dam touted to be the panacea to this crisis is government’s priority as it will not only serve the local community but will supply neighbouring Botswana.

The water body is envisaged to have a storage capacity of 33 million cubic metres.

“Water is a big problem in Gwanda we know. As such, we will start with construction of the Thuli Manyange dam to improve the situation here. The dam will also supply water to neighbouring Botswana, that way, we will be able to get foreign currency. We will also bring in drilling rigs that can reach upto 1000 metres. This will ensure that even during drought periods you do not experience acute water shortages,” he said.

In a bid to improve food security in a district where rain fed agriculture does not do well, the Vice President revealed plans to expand existing irrigation schemes such as Guyu Celesa, Rustlers Gorge, Mankokoni and Makwe to 500 hectares.

The revival of the now defunct Zimcan beef canning factory also came as good news to the locals who believe the company will not only uplift the economy of the district but will create employment.

“As you are aware, we recently launched the Command Livestock Programme where we are trying to assist farmers to have good breeds. We are getting these animals from South Africa and Botswana. The programme will continue and we hope to also open the Zimcan processing plant in West Nicholson,” Vice President Chiwenga.

The Vice President urged the people of Matabeleland South province to rally behind President Emmerson Mnagagwa in the coming harmonised elections as he will deliver on the promises that he has made to the electorate.

Retired General Chiwenga will take his campaign trail to Plumtree and Insiza districts today.