PRESIDENT Mnangagwa says he will announce dates for the harmonised elections within the next two weeks, signalling that the ruling party should engage in overdrive campaigns designed to both lure voters and consign the other contesting parties to the political dustbin.
The President’s statement comes as Senate passed the Electoral Amendment Bill last week, paving the way for a credible plebiscite. The milestone development by Parliament empowers the President to sign the legislative changes into law and subsequently proclaim dates for the nomination court sitting and the actual polls.
Addressing a bumper crowd at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare yesterday — gathered in haste at a side event to the renaming of the Headquarters 3 Infantry Brigade Barracks to Herbert Chitepo Barracks — President Mnangagwa said he would proclaim election dates by month-end.
“Asi se Zanu-PF, ndinokuvudzai kuti kupera kwemwedzi uno, tichange tichiita proclamation, kuti munyika muno muchava nema elections kuti campaign igotanga nemutsindo. Tozovuya kuno ku Manicaland toita campaign zvino yokuti mikono ndiani muno munyika, zvobuda pachena,” he said.
President Mnangagwa thanked Zimbabweans for the peaceful transition in November last year. He said he had to skip the country after he was fired by former President Mr Robert Mugabe on 6 November last year as his life was under threat.
President Mnangagwa said he was surprised at the huge crowd that had gathered to meet him at short notice. He said it was his hope that the numbers would translate into votes to safeguard Zimbabwe’s legacy.
“We must preach love, we must preach unity. People are allowed to differ, but never be violent because your brother has differed with you, because your sister has differed with you. To the youths, we must leave behind a legacy where they say madzikoma edu vakatisiira nhaka yakanaka, nhaka yerugare, nhaka yakavakika, nhaka yatakabatana, ndoyatinoda iyoyo mukati menyika yedu.”
The meeting was attended by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and the ruling party’s national chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, among other senior party members from various party organs. President Mnangagwa also told the gathering that the country is expecting another cash injection in addition to the $100 million that has been received from the UK, and this will help ease the current cash shortages.
“Patakaita inauguration yedu muna November, uyu Prime Minister weku Britain pasina kupera one hour akatumira envoy yake kuzondivona. Ndikati, ahh, unongouya kuzondivona ndinongova ndoga, handina Cabinet, ugouya ndava ne Cabinet.
Saka so far atumira three envoys. Saka takutaudzana ne ma British svondo rino (last week) nemusi we chipiri vakatipa $100 million kuti tibatsirike panyaya yedu ye cash mukati munyika. Tine imwe zvakare yatakabatsigwa iri munzira iri kuuya, tinoda kuti munhu aisa mari yake at least awane mari yaanokwanisa kusevenzesa.”
He said Zimbabwe is in safe hands that are steering it to economic prosperity as evidenced by over $15 billion worth of investments, including commitments, which have come its way in the last five months. The value of the proposed investments dwarfs the $400 million commitments that were made in the same period last year under the previous political administration.
Last week, the Government and a Canadian investor signed a $5,2 billion coal-to-fuels deal that is expected to take off after the groundbreaking ceremony on 1 June. Financiers for the $3 billion Batoka Hydropower project that will be jointly implemented with Zambia have also been secured.
“Zimbabwe is open for business. But most importantly, chinhu chakanyanya kukosha ndechekuti for now in this country, Zimbabwe is in good hands. Zimbabwe iri mumavoko akanaka achaichengeta. Zimbabwe will prosper. Zimbabwe is going to develop, Zimbabwe will shine, not only in Sadc, but will shine in Africa because Zimbabwe is in good hands.
“Our political party, Zanu-PF is a revolutionary party. A revolutionary party is a party which implements the wishes of the people. Any other party which is not revolutionary, then it has other interests. A party is called revolutionary because it caters for the interests of the people and Zanu-PF is a revolutionary party.”
The President also addressed another bumper crowd at Murambinda B Primary School in Buhera yesterday, where he pledged to create a “new Zimbabwe” that is driven by rapid socio-economic transformation if he wins the forthcoming harmonised elections. He said his thrust to prioritise the economy ahead of politics is targeted at transforming the country into a middle-income economy by 2030.
“This is a new Zimbabwe, a new Zimbabwe with new leadership; new leadership with new ideas, new ideas to develop a new Zimbabwe. All of us who are here should be united in this new Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is in good hands, Zimbabwe will now deliver, Zimbabwe will give jobs, and Zimbabwe will create jobs. Our lives will be transformed,” he said.
“Government is saying economics first, politics second. We want every family to be able to have a better life, send your children to school, to reach the highest levels of education. We also want to have social networks for those that are not academically brilliant (so that they) also have opportunities to uplift themselves.”
Zanu-PF’s First Secretary said his administration has a comprehensive economic programme to undo years of stunted growth.
“We have a broad economic programme to develop this country. We have opened up Zimbabwe to embrace new friends. For 18 years, we have been isolated for getting our land. We are happy that we have competed the land reform.”
He said Government’s policy to reach out to the international community is paying dividends as even Britain, which has had decades of sour relations with Zimbabwe, has warmed up.
“Now we are opening up to embrace those in the international community. We will embrace every country that wants to work with us. Even the British whom we had frosty relations with have sent three envoys so far to see me. And three days ago, they sent US$100 million for our companies to benefit from.”
The President also said there has been an encouraging rise in domestic investment, as local businesses are now expanding their operations, a development that will create more jobs. President Mnangagwa said the road to economic prosperity requires everyone to work hard.
“We are now saying economics, hupfumi! hupfumi! Forward with economics! People must be rewarded for the work they do. I now say to you all, whatever you do, we just work hard to develop the country ourselves, every Zimbabwean inside or outside the country. Your Government has started the Command Agriculture programme that will make sure that year in, year out, we have enough food. Even if you had poor harvests this year, no one will go hungry. District Administrators, the councillors, will identify the people at village level and make sure that they get food.