People in Mudzi District, in Mashonaland East Province, have called on the responsible authorities to repair Rwenya River Bridge, which was damaged by floods five years ago. Mudzi District administrator, John Misi told the Herald recently that the 800-metre bridge linking Mudzi to Nyanga North District had affected the movement of people, goods and services.
"It's a strategic bridge that links Mudzi to Nyanga North constituency," he said. "This bridge has been the lifeline of the people living here in terms of trade in goods and services with their counterparts in Manicaland.
"Transport services have been cut off. People living here have to travel long distances via Harare to get to Nyanga. They are incurring heavy loses as they pay extra money to get to Nyanga."
Rwenya River Bridge was badly damaged by floods in 2013; the road is in bad shape and the bridge needs repairs to enable trade in farm produce and other services to continue.
"Here, we grow a lot of tomatoes, maize, beans and fruits, which we want to trade with people in Nyanga," said Enock Kawere of Mudzi.
"But we can't move our goods freely because Rwenya River Bridge was badly damaged by floods five years ago. We are calling on Zinara or the Government to urgently repair the bridge.
"Bad roads are eating into our profits as most transporters are shunning this route. Most of our produce is rotting because the bridge is impassable."
Gold panning is rife along Rwenya River and land degradation exacerbated the damage of the bridge.
Erosion largely ate away the bridge on both ends, making it impassable.
Villagers in Mudzi appealed to Government to take urgent steps to rehabilitate the bridge to improve the livelihoods of communities on both sides.