21 June 2018

Zimbabwe: ED Inspires Renewed Hope in Masvingo

The people started gathering as early as 5am for President Mnangagwa's rally at Mucheke Stadium B Arena on Friday last week.

And by mid-afternoon, thousands had filled the open space, perhaps one of the largest crowds for a rally so far, as the country moves towards the harmonised elections on July 30.

The dancing, the singing and the ululation clearly indicated that the people were expectant, as they awaited the arrival of President Mnangagwa.

Everyone now has renewed hope that Zimbabwe can function once again, thanks to President Mnangagwa's focus and vision.

The people at the rally wanted to see for themselves the man who has been promising to change their sad story. And they were not disappointed.

President Mnangagwa charmed the people of Masvingo with his clear vision about not only the province, but the country as a whole.

By the time he arrived at the venue, the expectant crowd had swelled, leaving very little room on the vast open space. The welcome for the President was rousing, everyone was upbeat about what was in store for them. Just before he went to the stadium, President Mnangagwa had toured Mashava Mine in Mashava, about 40 kilometres west of Masvingo city.

He had also toured the Cold Storage Commission's plant in the city after his visit to Mashava. There were deafening shouts of joy from the crowd when President Mnangagwa took to the podium and announced that Mashava Mine would soon re-open its doors to the world. Just by saying this, President Mnangagwa struck the right chord and immediately endeared himself to the crowds. That the mine used to employ thousands of people, mainly from Masvingo Province, was enough to attract the interest of the people.

The President said: "Mashava Mine will be re-opening soon after we sat down as Government and availed $20 million for recapitalisation out of the $35 million that is required to reach full production capacity and right now de-watering of the mine shaft at King Mine is underway and we expect production to start soon. We are also working flat out to make sure Shabanie Mine (in Zvishavane) is fully functional and we also injected funds that were required to revive operations and the two mines (Shabanie and Mashava) should be up and running soon."

President Mnangagwa's vision on Mashava Mine was very clear to his supporters. He went on to explain the grand plan around reviving the CSC plant in Masvingo. He said Cabinet was set to approve an investor to partner Government in reviving the plant.

"We don't need to look back, we have to look forward," said President Mnangagwa.

"Looking forward, the process of resuscitating the plant is now in progress."

The CSC plant used to employ more than 4 000 people at its peak, and with such a massive workforce, the contribution of the plant to Masvingo and the national economy cannot be doubted. And President Mnangagwa is well aware of the positive impact that the plant will have on the revival of the economy.

"Since the coming in of the new Government, we said economy first, business first and jobs first," he said.

Another area that is going to be tackled in Masvingo Province is the utilisation of Tugwi-Mukosi Dam water for the benefit of the people.

The dam has potential to change Masvingo from being a dry, arid and a drought-prone region to a green belt.

President Mnangagwa announced that 25 000 hectares of irrigation would be opened around the dam, and that there would be a greenbelt producing food all year round. What this means for the people of Masvingo is that from hence forth, they will be food secure.

Everyone in Masvingo is eagerly waiting for the recently completed dam to start benefiting them by helping produce food. The dam is also expected to act as a tourism hub for the province, with planners saying it's possible to establish a modern city around the dam. Masvingo is also a mineral-rich province, but the riches are not yet benefiting the people since most of them are still underground.

But people can now face the future with boldness after President Mnangagwa explained a grand plan to ensure that minerals in the province are exploited for the benefit of the people. There is lithium in Bikita, gold in areas like Renco, diamonds in Chivi and other minerals in many areas in the province.

The people were assured that Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando was working on various programmes, including attracting investors to ensure that the minerals were exploited for the benefit of the people. Masvingo has been a sleeping giant when it comes to tourism, yet the province is endowed with so many tourist attractions that have a potential to bring foreign currency.

The Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Save Conservancy, Gonarezhou National Park and all other tourist attractions in the province will now be marketed with the involvement of local communities. The dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway is another mega project that had been stalled, but is now set to be revived.

President Mnangagwa told the rally that his administration noticed a number of irregularities in the deal signed by the previous government with Geiger International. He expertly articulated the development agenda that Masvingo Province will now pursue to enhance the people's lives.

President Mnangagwa's pursuance of re-engagement with other countries is also another strategy that will help bring investment and partners to provinces like Masvingo.

But it is clear that Masvingo will never be the same again, thanks to President Mnangagwa's vision of prosperity.

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