Joseph Madzimure and Zvamaida Murwira
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has implored the Zanu PF leadership to lead from the front in mobilising the people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 under Phase Two and Three of the inoculation exercise which is targeting the grassroots population across the country.
The President received his first Covid-19 jab at a momentous occasion attended by different religious and political leaders in Victoria Falls on Wednesday, where he called on the nation to shun conspiracy theories and get vaccinated for the country to return to normalcy.
Leading by example, President Mnangagwa got vaccinated in full view of the public.
The second phase, which is targeting teachers, security personnel and the elderly among other groups got off to a flying start in the resort city of Victoria Falls where residents of the world-famous town also received the vaccines, as part of Government plans to reopen the economy and reset the country on its development trajectory of being an upper middle economy by 2030.
Addressing the 350th Ordinary Session of the Politburo at the party headquarters in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa called on the party structures to develop programmes to sensitise communities about the importance of Covid-19 vaccination.
“Riding on this momentum, I call upon the party to lead from the front as we continue to mobilise our people to vaccinate under Phase Two and ultimately Phase Three, which will target our grassroots population across the country until we realise herd immunity.
“Our party leadership at provincial, district, branch and village/cell levels are encouraged to develop programmes to sensitise communities about the importance and efficacy of Covidd-19 vaccination. Let us all be mindful that no-one is safe from Covid-19, until everyone is safe.
“The Politburo will recall that we received the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines in February marking the beginning of Phase One of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme targeting frontline health workers and security personnel.
“On March 16, 2021, we received an additional second batch of vaccine doses. These will go a long way towards ensuring that we attain the ideal herd immunity of 60 percent of the population,” said the President.
The national Covid-19 vaccination programme is in full swing.
The roll out of the first phase was a success with over 68 percent of the targeted group being vaccinated to date.
“I want to commend frontline workers and other groups who have positively responded to the vaccination programme.”
President Mnangagwa said under the second phase, the target group had been expanded to include teachers, security services and members of the judicial system, clergy, the elderly and people with chronic conditions.
He said the vaccination programme had been overwhelmingly received by stakeholders from across the socio economic and political divide, demonstrating that Zimbabwe was evolving into a mature democracy where all people act in the national interest and with unity of purpose.
“As we approach the Easter Holidays, I exhort all of us to avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings. Covid-19 is still a reality and let us therefore remain alert and keep adhering to the World Health Organisation guidelines of wearing masks, handwashing under running water or sanitisation, and also social distancing,” said the President.
Turning to a number of former MDC senior officials who are defecting to Zanu PF, President Mnangagwa said more senior opposition members joined the ruling party.
Some of the senior members who recently joined the party are former MDC-T spokesperson Cde Obert Gutu and senator James Makore.
He confirmed that others are re-joining Zanu PF through the provincial levels and wings of the party.
President Mnangagwa also commended the Zanu PF Youth League, describing it as the vanguard of the party.
“I urge the league to intensify and diversify its mobilisation drive towards a resounding victory in the 2023 harmonised general elections.”
He also applauded the party structures for warmly welcoming the new members saying Zanu PF was a mass party and a revolutionary party standing ready to accommodate all Zimbabweans who wished to join it.
He, however, warned party members going against the ethos of the party’s constitution and ideology saying the few pockets of indiscipline displayed by some cadres should be nipped in the bud.
“Emboldened by our constitution and revolutionary ideology, let us continue entrenching intra-party democracy, unity, peace and harmony as the bedrock upon which we grow and strengthen our party,” said the President.
“We cannot afford to be pre-occupied by meetings which merely focus on gossip, rumour-mongering, petty jealousies and unfounded accusations.
“The party is far much bigger than individuals. Tisazvinyepera kuisa Zanu PF muhomwe, unozokaruka wava muhomwe ye Zanu PF,” said President Mnangagwa.
He called for the need to safeguard the party constitution and seek to achieve the promises made in the 2018 party manifesto.
“It is equally important for us as the party to play our role in the implementation and success of the National Development Strategy 1 towards guaranteeing the development, growth and prosperity of our country.”
On agriculture production, President Mnangagwa said the country was expecting a bumper harvest following the normal to above normal rainfall received during this summer cropping season.
He also commended the party leadership and stakeholders in the agriculture sector for their concerted efforts in promoting the implementation of Government programmes at grassroots level towards increased productivity.
“Preparations must begin in earnest for the equally successful winter cropping season. In tandem with the primary agriculture productivity, let us also value addition projects across all provinces and districts.”
He challenged the Information Communication Technology department to move with greater speed to realise the electronic membership registration process saying ICT was a new frontier and expression of any country’s development level.
Zimbabwe was continuing with deepening of bilateral relations due to a robust engagement and re-engagement policy.
“My administration continues to witness the deepening of bilateral relations owning to our robust engagement and re-engagement policy. Recently the inaugural session of the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation was held and resulted in concrete plans of strengthening cooperation in areas such as aviation, mining, energy and education among others.”
On the transport sector, President Mnangagwa said another batch of 100 buses for public transport, was already at the port of entry.
The Politburo meeting observed a minute of silence in honour of Tanzanian President Dr John Magufuli who died March 17 and will be interred today in his home town of Chato in the Geita region of Tanzania.
“On behalf of our party, Zanu PF we once again convey our heartfelt condolences to our sister party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi for their sad loss. Their loss is ours together,” said the President.
“For us in Zimbabwe and Zanu PF, we shall forever remember his principled position which led SADC, under his chairmanship, to set aside October 25 as the day when the whole region collectively denounces the illegal economic sanctions imposed on our country.”