Prosper Ndlovu recently in Gwanda
AS the country heads towards 2023 harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to maintain the ongoing development momentum being spearheaded by the Second Republic by voting for the ruling party, Zanu-PF.
Through comprehensive reforms undertaken since the ushering in of the New Dispensation in 2017, the country is slowly reclaiming its space in the global comity of progressive nations.
Numerous high-impact investments covering different sectors of the economy are being harnessed amid innovative strides by higher and tertiary learning centres, robust infrastructure development projects and increasing domestic production.
These are some of the tangible exploits of Zanu-PF Government’s determined drive towards creating more job opportunities and improving ordinary people’s livelihoods.
Addressing thousands of people who came to meet him and witness the official commissioning of 18 Public Service Commission (PSC) buses at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda, Matabeleland Province on Thursday, President Mnangagwa said despite the continued imposition of Western sanctions, Zimbabwe was on a transformative drive.
He said the US$67 million Central Shaft Expansion and the US$14 million 12,2 megawatts solar projects, which he officially commissioned at Blanket Mine, were some of the prime success stories showing that indeed “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”.
Already, the investment has positioned parent company, Caledonia Mining Corporation, to increase output to about 80 000 ounces per annum while employment levels have been pushed to above 1 600 workers from 500 with revenues increasing from US$123 million per annum to more than US$148 million per annum.
The mining sector alone is projected to clock about US$8 billion earnings this year from US$5.3 billion last year, according to official reports, which is a huge margin compared to about US$2.1 billion when the Second Republic came into being.
Despite adverse climate change impacts, recent Government reports show that growing public and private sector investments towards transforming the agriculture industry have seen the sector surpassing the US$8.2 billion milestone target set under the National Development Strategy (NDS1-2021-2025), ahead of time.
Under the Second Republic, Zimbabwe is driving massive coal to energy development projects with the US$1.4 billion Hwange Power Station Units 7 and 8 expansion nearing completion.
According to the Zimbabwe Power Company, the first unit is set to come on stream this month, injecting 300 megawatts to the national grid while the other 300MW Unit 8 is set for completion early next year.
Several investments in coal to coke processing have been established in the Hwange area, Matabeleland North province, which have bolstered mining output and export earnings with massive job opportunities along the value chain.
President Mnangagwa said the Lake Gwayi-Shangani construction, a key project meant to solve Bulawayo’s water problems and boost irrigation farming in Matabeleland region, has been in limbo through successive administrations from 1912 and only took off under the Second Republic, which has channelled more Treasury resources to steer its steady progress to about 44 percent to date.
Zimbabwe is also on the cusp of being a key oil to gas energy player in the region with the Australian Invictus Energy firm indicating improved commercially viable findings at its Muzarabani oil and gas exploration project.
Through enhanced diplomatic relations with China, for instance, the Second Republic has also witnessed completion of the new Parliament building in Harare, constructed at a cost of US$100 million with funding from Beijing.
Realising that the future of the world is anchored on science and technology, President Mnangagwa said his Government has championed the Education 5.0 policy to ensure Zimbabwe develops its economy through knowledge-based approaches by its own people in line with the philosophy “Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabaninibalo/Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo”.
He implored entrepreneurs, established businesses and students in colleges and universities to embrace science/technology to develop and register new products and services that contribute more to economic growth.
In view of such development milestones and many more recorded in the last five years, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans should reflect on these deliverables as an indicator of his administration’s commitment to propel Zimbabwe to greater heights.
“Every five years we hold general elections as a country in line with the Constitution and come next year by July or August we must go back to the people and seek another mandate from them to lead the country,” he said.
“We have already held our party congress last month and am happy to say all the 10 provinces were happy to say the last five years the party has made great strides in instructing Government to focus on serious issues of national development.
“So, for the last five years, your Zanu-PF Government has succeeded in delivering tangible development.”
President Mnangagwa told the bumper crowd that transforming the country could only be done by capable, informed and knowledgeable leadership as opposed to puppet opposition formations.
He said Zimbabwe was suffering from Western sanctions as punishment for choosing to be independent and asserting its autonomy when it embarked on the Land Reform Programme at the turn of the millennium.
“We’ve then said as Zanu-PF we must not cry because of these sanctions but look internally and, using our resources, develop our country brick by brick and stone upon stone,” the President said.
Instead of relying on imports, President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic has taken steps to produce its own food. He made reference to the success in substituting wheat imports this winter season where Zimbabwe has achieved huge success of producing 14 months’ supply through boosting local production.
“This is what we are doing as the Second Republic so that you are happy in your country. So, it’s on the basis of depending on what we ourselves can do.
“We are constructing our own roads and this time around it is local contractors and local engineers who are championing the projects. We have started with the Beitbridge- Harare-Chirundu Highway.”
President Mnangagwa said using local contractors was beneficial as it has cut the cost of this highway from the initial estimated US$2 billion by foreign contractors to about US$600 million by local professionals and companies.
He said despite sanctions, Zimbabwe has also made breakthroughs in producing its own medical accessories including medical oxygen for hospitals while rural industrialisation has also been introduced to empower communities at grassroots level.
“This is how other countries have developed through developing their own products. We are also driving rural industrialisation which is producing more local goods, we are leaving no one behind. Our agriculture is also transforming and we are mechanising,” the President said.
“I can go on and on to tell you what we are discovering and developing. Next week I will be in Tsholotsho to commission a village solar project for 69 villages and we shall replicate the same in other villages across the country.
“So, whatever you are doing, do it with full commitment, we must work and develop our country with the resources given to us by God.”
President Mnangagwa urged all Zimbabweans to register to vote in their large numbers in next year’s harmonised elections saying the ruling party should garner a resounding victory.
“Zanu-PF as the only party that brought Independence to this country has national interests at heart. Let’s uphold values of peace, tolerance and unity among ourselves as we gear towards the elections,” he said.