An attempt by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to claim credit for the construction of the Kazungula rail-road bridge has backfired after Zambia and Botswana released a damning statement, the bridge belongs to the two countries and not Zimbabwe.

Built at a cost of $260 million, the stop border post for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana is set to improve traffic flow and trade in the region. Last week Mnangagwa told the nation that his administration was part and parcel of the project. He said the bridge belongs to Zimbabwe as well.

“During this month, I will be joining the Presidents of Botswana and Zambia at Kazungula, to commission the Kazungula Bridge. With the coming in of the New Dispensation, Zimbabwe came on board the project and the bridge is now owned by three countries,” he said.

But Zambia and Botswana released a statement illustrating that the Kazungula bridge project was led and initiated by them. The two countries however, said the bridge was going to help the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) by facilitating inter-regional trade.

There was no mention whatsoever that Zimbabwe was involved in the project. Mnangagwa was actually invited just like other heads of States in the region.

“The Kazungula Bridge project is a testament of the fruitful cooperation enjoyed by Botswana and Zambia. The bridge, which is the biggest development project between the two countries is expected to contribute towards enhancing the livelihoods of their citizens by among others, facilitating easier access to inter-regional trade.

“The bridge will also go a long way in supporting SADC’s regional integration agenda,” read the statement.

Mnangagwa on Monday joined other regional leaders including SADC chair, Mozambique President Nyusi and the African Union chair DRC Felix Tshisekedi to witness the official opening of the bridge.

Meanwhile, the opening Kazungula bridge is also expected to have a significant impact on South Africa by relieving congestion at the infamous Beitbridge border crossing for freight truckers.

Currently, truckers from South Africa to Lusaka must travel via Zimbabwe, crossing the congested Beitbridge at the border between Limpopo and its Northern neighbour.

But with the new bridge at Kazungula, South Africans can travel via Botswana, bypassing the Beitbridge crossing and Zimbabwe altogether. -Nehanda Radio


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