Live updates by: Thembinkosi Mangena and Skilder Makona

Feeds and Photography by: Wadzanai Mhombera, Josephine Mugiyo and Judith Makwanya

1648: That brings to an end our live updates. Thank you for being with us.

1647: ZINWA gives President Mugabe a Brahman bull to thank him for a job well done while he was still the SADC chair.

1643: President Mugabe pays tribute to companies which extended their helping hand to the government and the responsible ministry to ensure the successful completion of the Tokwe-Mukosi dam, as he concludes his speech.

  • Tongaat Hulett released a total of US$6.6mn to Salini-Impreglio JV, an Italian firm contracted to construct Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo Province for the resumption of construction works at the dam after the company had threatened to pull out of the site over arrears. This deal was was made possible by Tongaat Hullet’s banking partners, Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe.
  • The amount in an addition to the US$20.3mn that was released by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) to take care of all outstanding arrears. Construction works at the Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam, which is almost complete, almost came to a stop after Salini issued a notice to abandon site over outstanding arrears. Working remaining include roads, valve and steel works, grouting and dry works.
  • Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is situated at the confluence of Tokwe and Mukosi rivers in Chivi South district, Masvingo Province. The release of money towards the construction of Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is over and above other community development projects Tongaat Hullet is involved in.

1642: “The completion of the Tokwe-Mukosi dam is a monumental achievement realised through hard work and determination and I hereby urge the people of Masvingo to avoid siltation of the dam,” says the President.

1641: Cde Mugabe however urged people in Masvingo to avoid silting the dam, saying all benefits expected will be shattered.

1640: President Mugabe has officially commissioned the Tokwe-Mukosi dam.

1637: “The dam will also help fisheries since they will no longer be going to places like Zambezi river, Lake Kariba and other far places, they will be carrying out their fisheries businesses here,” says Cde Mugabe.

1636: Cde Mugabe says there is no other party other than Zanu PF which had such brains to come up with the idea of constructing the giant Tokwe-Mukosi dam.

1635: Cde Mugabe says even-though it took us a while we knew with patience we will accomplish the completion of the dam which will help the people of Zimbabwe from all walks of life.

1632: “Tokwe-Mukosi dam is in addition to places like, Gonarezhou National Park, Great Zimbabwe and Lake Mutirikwi among other tourism sites in Masvingo. The project also has a master plan of the construction of a hotel,” says the President.

1631: He said that a hydro-power plant to generate electricity will be erected at the dam with a capacity to produce 15 megawatts of power which is in line with government’s policy that wherever a dam is constructed, there should be a hydro-power station to boost the country’s power generation to reduce the importation of electricity from other countries.

1629: President Mugabe said: “The Tokwe-Mukosi dam come in handy with 25000 hectares of irrigation land in the lowveld. This project will create thousands of jobs in upstream and downstream of the agriculture sector.”

1628: The dam is coming in as a relief to the small dams which were overwhelmed by the irrigation of the lowveld sugar industry.

1625: “This joyous moment demonstrates the government commitment to ensure its people get enough food. The construction of this dam started way back in 1998 and due to economic challenges it took time but today we are here to witness the commissioning of the Tokwe-Mukosi dam. The dam was completed last year. Makorokoto, amhlophe,” says President Mugabe.

1623: President says he’s happy with the completion of the giant Tokwe-Mukosi dam saying it will guarantee food security.

1622: “Taungana pano taunganidzwa nemvura,”

1621: President Mugabe is now giving his speech.

1620: He says the commissioning of the Tokwe Mukosi dam is in line with the ZIM ASSET cluster of maintaining food security as he invites President Mugabe to address the people.

1619: Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is now giving his speech.

1616: Cde Shuvai Mahofa is now on the podium

1613: The national anthem is being sung here at Tokwe Mukosi.

15:26 – President Mugabe has now arrived at Tokwe Mukosi, where thousands are gathered to witness the commissioning.

Talking of the mighty Tokwe Mukosi dam, here are some of the sights of the dam

14:23 – We are now heading to Tokwe Mukosi Dam, where the President will also officially commission one of the country’s largest water bodies.

14:05 – He then officially launches the construction of the dualised highway, before Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa gives a vote of thanks.

14:02 – President Mugabe urges local companies to participate fully in the project and warns them against overcharging so that they can be considered for future projects.

13:53 – Cde Mugabe blames illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and her allies for stalling major infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe, adding that Zimbabweans still need to be resilient, united and soldier on against neo-colonialism if they are to be masters of their destiny.

13:45 – He says investment in capital intensive infrastructure projects such as this is a giant step to development, noting that the highway is the busiest in the country and links South Africa and other countries in the SADC region, East and Central Africa.

13:44 – President Mugabe hails the project, which he says will be another springboard for economic development as it will have a multiplier effect on the country’s economy.

13:34 – Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko invites the guest of honour, President Mugabe to the podium to address the gathering.

13:25 – Mr Eric Geiger, the Vice Chairman of Geiger International, the company which won the tender, says they are happy to undertake the project after 6 years of negotiations that were characterised by court cases at some stage. He adds that 40 percent of the work will be undertaken by Zimbabweans, a move that will give jobs to local companies.

13:21 – “The first part of the project [Beitbridge-Harare] will cost US$984 million,” says Minister Gumbo, adding that “negotiations for securing a loan for the second phase are at an advanced stage.”

13:19 – The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr Joram Gumbo says the first part of the project which covers the Beitbridge-Harare highway will take three years to complete and is being financed under the public-private partnership agreement, while the second part covering Harare-Chirundu will be financed by a loan.

13:12 – In his welcoming remarks at the occasion, the Minister of State for Midlands Province, Cde Jason Machaya salutes President Mugabe for the decision to dualise the Beitbridge-Harare road, saying it will save lives and create employment for the success of the ZIM ASSET programme.

13:05 – Chief Chirumanzu greets President Mugabe the traditional way.

12:58 – President Mugabe arrives at Chaka Business Centre and the National Anthem is now sounding.

It’s time for the singing of the National Anthem

11:37 – Traditional mbira performers, school children and youth groups are keeping the crowds entertained through song dance and poetry in anticipation of the huge project which is expected to cost about US$1 billion. As said earlier, the construction will be undertaken by an Austrian company, Geiger International and local companies.

11:30 – Over 30 chiefs from Midlands, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces, as well as legislators, cabinet ministers and surrounding communities are at Chaka Business Centre

11:05 – Sights of Chaka Business Centre in Chirumanzu in the Midlands Province, along the Harare-Masvingo highway, where President Mugabe is breaking the ground for the Beitbridge- Chirundu highway dualisation.

10:42 – With good rains received this previous season, Tokwe Mukosi dam is a mighty water body

10:19 – The Herald clearly states that this is ‘Zim’s proud moment‘ and surely, who can dispute this?

  • Tokwe-Mukosi dam is expected to result in a vibrant economic growth in Masvingo province and the country at large.
  • The dam will open opportunities for both existing and new irrigation, mini hydropower generation, eco-tourism, hospitality, recreational facilities and fisheries.
  • Construction of the dam therefore touches on all ZIMASSET clusters as the dam will provide water for sugar estates in the lowveld notably: Chiredzi, Chisumbanje, Mwenezi, Ngundu and Chivi, among others.
  • Dam also expected to create a lot of employment not only in the agricultural sector but also in the fisheries sector as the Command Fisheries Programme will be launched today.


10:17: What others say:
09:58 – Other facts:

  • Construction stalled in 2008 due to shortage of resources
  • Construction resumed in 2011.
  • In 2014, there were floods because of some structural defects which were later rectified.
  • Construction of the dam finally completed last year (2016)
09: 57 – Tokwe Mukosi Dam facts

09:57 – The construction of Tokwe Mukosi Dam began in 1998 but an Italian company, Salini Impregilo was contracted to construct the dam in 1994.

The Italian company that did the work on the dam expected to transform lives in Masvingo and Zimbabwe

09:56 – Don’t be confused by dates at the the banner below, the event was moved from tomorrow, Friday 19 May, to today.

The VIP stand ready

Final touches to the arrangement of chairs for guests

ZBC Uplink ready for the event

09:50 -Masvingo readies for Tokwe Mukosi commissioning and the ZBC is ready to broadcast live the event

09:29 – Elsewhere, we have breaking news

09:25 – BREAKING NEWS: Zimbabwe has announced Dr Cosmos Zavazava as its candidate for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Development Bureau Directorship post. The elections for the post are set for Dubai next year. The Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Dr Christopher Mushowe, who is also attending ITU Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, said though it might be early days, the Zimbabwean candidate has a huge support from members of the ITU considering his vast experience in the telecommunication technology. Dr Mushowe further noted that Dr Zavazava has experience in designing and implementing ICT projects for both sustainable development and public safety for ITU member states.

09:21 – We are just over 1hour 30 minutes before the programme starts, here is a look at the proposed schedule

11.00 – President Mugabe arrival at Gonawapotera Secondary School, for ground breaking ceremony.

12.45 – School is near Chaka Business Centre in Chirumanzu, the Midlands Province along the Harare-Masvingo highway.

13.00 – Programme ends.

13.30 President Mugabe arrival at Tokwe Mukosi air strip for dam commissioning. Gets straight into a briefing and then tour.

16.00 Programme ends.

09:05 – Initial reports of this latest accident were that 17 people were feared dead, before the death toll rose to 20. After DNA tests, the number was reported to be 31, as most of the people were burnt beyond recognition.

08:59 – 6 April [email protected] News Online: The number of people feared dead in an inferno that occurred after a Proliner bus accident along the Harare Masvingo highway is now estimated at 20.

This comes after a team of DNA experts and pathologists was dispatched to the accident scene near the Drifontein turn off ZRP National Spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the team of DNA specialists and pathologists has since collected the remains of the deceased and taken them to Gweru Hospital.

“The remains which were burnt beyond recognition, are thought to be of 20 people,” she said, advising relatives of those who were travelling in the Proliner bus to report to Gweru Hospital for DNA sampling to establish the identities of the deceased. The accident, which occurred when a South African bound Proliner bus side-swiped with a haulage truck at around 8:30pm yesterday evening, also injured 43 people.

Edmore Mlambo and his wife, Laiza, who live close to where the accident occurred, said they rushed to the scene of the accident after they heard a deafening noise, which emanated from the collision. “When we got to the scene, we saw some passengers escaping from the bus which was already on fire through the windows,” said Mr Mlambo.

“Some were trapped in the bus and burned in the inferno with no one able to offer help,” Mrs Mlambo said.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Charamba urged bus operators to always ensure their head office keeps a passenger manifesto. She also called on the people of Zimbabwe to avoid traveling at night particularly during public holidays as this increases the risk of accidents.

Relatives who had passengers on board the Proliner bus are being asked to check for their relatives at the Mvuma Police Station.

The wreckage of the Proliner Bus and a haulage truck after the accident on 5 April

A Proliner Bus in flames after a side-swipe with haulage truck near Mvuma

08:55 – Indeed the road is in bad shape and the number of accidents are testimony that the country’s busiest road, the link between South Africa and other countries in the SADC region, Central and East Africa is surely a death trap.

08:47 – First things first, road dualisation event first

08:47 – 6 May [email protected] News Online: The 18th of May 2017 will go down into history as a day which should bring a big sigh of relief to travellers, drivers and the nation at large as the long awaited construction of the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Chirundu highway finally come into action.

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Dr Jorum Gumbo revealed that the groundbreaking ceremony will take place mid next month. “The groundbreaking ceremony of the road is long overdue but is a milestone development which will reduce the rampant road carnage which has claimed several innocent lives. It will on the other hand boost Zimbabwe’s the trade links with neighbouring nations,” a commercial law expert, James Makiya said.

President Mugabe told thousands of people at the 37th Independence celebrations that the dualisation of the highway will unlock business opportunities for indigenous players in road construction, create jobs for youths, as well as offer several other downstream socio-economic benefits.

The tender for the dualisation programme was awarded to Geiger company of Austria and 40 percent stake will be allocated to local players to provide raw materials and other services.

08:36 – President Robert Mugabe is set to commission the Tokwe Mukosi Dam today in Masvingo but first he will break the ground to mark the commencement of work on the dualisation project of the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare-Chirundu highway.

08:35 – Welcome to the ZBC News Online live updates page on a sunny Thursday.