Updates by: Skilder Makona, Pictures: Wadzanai Mhombera and Providence Maraneli

1620: Thanks for joining us ….

1552: VP Mohadi has invited investors to come and do business with Zimbabwe in line with the new mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business”.

1551: He says the new dispensation’s main thrust is to improve the country economically.

1543: Cde Rugeje now invites Vice president Mohadi to give a vote of thanks.

1542: President Mnangagwa chants the iconic party slogan….”Pamberi neZanu PF, pamberi nekubatana, pakumberi nekuhwinha maelection, pambili lokubambana…..pasi nemhanduuuuuu….,” as he concludes his speech. 

1540: He says the country is now in good hands, and Zimbabwe will now prosper.

1537: President Mnangagwa says government will continue to understand the people’s challenges and will find ways to address them.

1536: He says Zanu PF respects traditional leaders hence procuring vehicles for them.

1535: The President appeals to Matabeleland South Province to remain peaceful, thanked them for coming in huge numbers adding that he is satisfied that the province is a “Zanu PF stronghold”.

1533: He urges the people of Matabeleland to remain peaceful ahead of the elections.

1532: On housing, Cde Mnagagwa says government has a programme to build houses in all the provinces, to cover also women and youths. He blasted the building of urban houses in areas which have not been serviced, with no roads, no sewer system. Also said the net is closing in on land barons saying only Zanu PF can address these issues. “Zvechivake vake zvisina kana plan hatichada, matown councils mapothole are there left right and centre tinoda zvinhu zvine gwara…Maland baron hokoyo!”

1530: On education, the President says Lupane State University must be able to produce graduands who add value to the development of the country. 

1528: On the decentralisation of government authority,  Provincial Minister’s job must now become economic, he/she must look at the resources of the province and ensure they are exploited for the benefit of the province….so as to have good roads, clinics and schools in the province.

1522: President Mnangagwa says there are many programmes put in place by the government to upgrade infrastructure not only in Matabeleland South but the country at large. 

1521: He says in Kazungula, a bridge is being constructed for the benefit of Zimbabwe adding that Zimbabwe is going to benefit form the one stop border post which is being constructed in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambezi in the area.

1520: “Modernising the Beitbridge border post…a company has been given this task, I met them today to get an update on progress. Work is expected to start before polls are held,” ED.

1519: On infrastructure development, the President says the government has already started roads resurfacing among other programmes and Matabeleland South will benefit from the dualisation of Beitbridge-Bulawayo highway.

1516: He says The Mines Minister Mr Winston Chitando is a brilliant young man and has necessitated the reopening of the Mashava Mines and Shabanie Mine, thus creation of more jobs for the people of Zimbabwe. “Mashava King Mine resuscitated as $20 million capital was injected, Eureka gold mine in Guruve also re-opened this week. A ground breaking ceremony is on the cards for the $4.2 billion Karo Resources platinum project which is set to create 15 000 jobs. This will be done before elections,” says President Mnangagwa.

1514: Turning to mining, President Mnangagwa says Matabeleland South Province has vast tracts of minerals including tungsten and gold hence the people of this province should benefit from the extraction of such minerals.   

1511: He urges the citizens to embrace command agriculture saying the province is suitable for citrus fruits like oranges. He says the government will soon roll out a policy through Minister Muchinguri’s Ministry, that will encourage every household to plant a tree.

1508: He says one family should own one farm so that everyone benefits from land reform programme. The President highlighted that CSC has been opened as well.

1507: Today farmers have been given heifers to be repaid after 5 years to support command livestock, says the President adding that there also programmes for goats, chickens, fisheries to support the growth of agriculture.

1504: President Mnangagwa says the government is prioritising agriculture to ensure food self-sufficiency. Command agriculture programme must cultivate 400 000 hectares, while the Presidential Inputs Scheme will cover communal farmers……$487 million has been put aside for Presidential inputs.

1503: Zimbabwe’s foreign policy is anchored on re-engagement, courting new and old friends as Zimbabwe is now open for business. He says Zimbabwe will never be hunger stricken again as the government initiative, the command agriculture has proven beyond reasonable doubt, to be a success hence the government has extended it to other facets of agriculture.

1502: The President reiterated that the government envisages a middle income economy in the next 12 years, that is, by 2030.
He also spoke about his visits to the region, and to China after his inauguration, highlighting the comprehensive support the country got from the Asian giant.

1501: The President says they are engaging and re-engaging other nations to be friends of Zimbabwe as the country is now open for business.

1459: Kuhondo taifamba naJehovha wehondo, ikozvino tavekufamba naJehovha werugare, says ED.

1457: “We must be know for unity and love. I am very happy that up to now no acts of violence have been recorded ahead of the forthcoming elections. I have invited the international observers cause i believe Zimbabwe is politically mature. We are the symbol of unity, the symbol of love…,” ED

1456: President Mnangagwa urges the party supporters to maintain the peace prevailing in the country before, during and after elections. 

1454: He says Zanu PF ichafamba ichingotonga ichingotonga ichingotonga igotonga. “Ukawanikwa uchisiya vatongi uchienda kuvatongwi, pfungwa dzako dzakamira sei,” ED.

1453: “We must now speak of unity, we must now speak of love and we must now speak of development, development, development. We want our people to have a better life,” ED.

1451: “We are a servant leadership, I am a servant leader,  I am a listening leader, all the leaders are listening leaders. The power they enjoy comes from you….this is the new approach of the new dispensation,” said ED.

1450: President Mnangagwa says the new dispensation which came about on the 18th of November last year when the people of Zimbabwe wanted change, will live up to the people’s expectations.

1446: He says no one is bigger than the party.

1445: President Mnangagwa says Papa Alfred Nikita Mangena Mangena also came from this province. Matabeleland South contributed immensely to the liberation struggle, says the President.

1444: He says Matabeleland has a strong liberation background saying the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo and Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo among others came from this side.

1441: He acknowledges the presidium, party leadership and the Zanu PF supporters gathered here at Phelandaba Stadium.

1439: President Mnangagwa starts by chanting the party’s iconic slogan…. “Pambili lokubambana, pamberi nokubatana, pamberi neZanu PF, pamberi nemusangano, pasi nemhanduuuuuu…. ilizwe …..”

1437: Cde Chiwenga now invites the President to the podium.

1425: President Mnangagwa is now greeting the provincial leadership.

1423: Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who is the National Chairperson is also here present in Gwanda.

1410: He gives the liberation background of Cde Mnangagwa.

1407: Vice President Chiwenga now chronicling the life of President Mnangagwa.

1359: Zanu PF National Political Commissar Retired Lieutenant General Engelbert Rugeje is now giving formal introductions.

1354: The party’s Deputy National Political Commissar Cde Omega Hungwe takes to the podium and she chants the iconic slogan….”Pasi nemhanduuuuu….”

1351: A local pastor is now giving an opening prayer.

1342: Official proceedings begin here with the singing of the national anthem.

Phelandaba Stadium filled to capacity

1336: The President is moving around greeting the thousands of Zanu PF supporters gathered here at Phelandaba Stadium, Matabeleland South Province.

1334: President Mnangagwa has arrived.

1332: Phelandaba Stadium filled to capacity by the Zanu PF supporters. 

1330: Vice Presidents Cdes Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi arrive here at Phelandaba Stadium.

Scenes at Phelandaba Stadium, Gwanda

1130: Zanu PF supporters throng Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda where the President and First Secretary of the party, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to address them later in the day.