Anger As Govt Drags Feet In Border Post Construction

By Zwelethu Zikhali

Binga, October 11, 2016 – THE proposed Binga Border Post might be fast becoming a white elephant with no prospects of its completion in sight.

Communities around Binga and Matabeleland North province as a whole are getting impatient and have implored government to speedily allocate funds to complete the border post that will provide a much shorter cross point for Zimbabweans and Zambians visiting either country.

Lack of a border post in the area has resulted in people from both sides of the Zambezi River in Binga and Zambia illegally crossing the boundary using man-made boats which have seen some drowning.

There is also rampant smuggling of an assortment of goods as well as poaching as people from both countries cross the river willy-nilly oblivious of the dangers of the crocodile infested river.

Construction of a border post have been on the cards over the year but been hampered by staff shortage at the immigration department and lack of financial commitment by government to develop a harbour at Kani area in Binga.

A considerable development has taken place on the Zambian side at the Namafulu Border Post.

People from Matabeleland North province have raised the issue at various fora imploring government to urgently release funds.

“May the government speedily release funds for construction of Binga Border post. People from Binga are closer to Zambia but have to travel more than 300 km to Victoria Falls to cross through the Victoria Falls Border Post,” said a resident at a budget consultative meeting recently.

The port of entry would enhance trade and tourism growth since distance from Zambia to Binga would be drastically cut.

Binga is also a tourist attraction district with hot springs, fishing activities and game reserves such as Chizarira National Park, Chete Safaris and Lake Kariba and having a border can attract direct tourists into the area and boost development.

Binga North Constituency Member of Parliament Prince Dubeko Sibanda said he was tired of raising the issue in Parliament.

“The border post project remains a pipedream and at a standstill like most government projects because of lack of funding. However there is also lack of political interest to complete such projects especially in this part of the country. I am tired of talking about it in Parliament because the answer is now obvious,” he said.

Details of how much is needed for the project couldn’t be ascertained.

Only a few structures that include accommodation have been built.