Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe says the new diamond claims discovered in Chimanimani should be reserved exclusively for indigenous companies for the successful implementation of the indigenisation programme.
Addressing the Zanu PF Women’s League National Assembly meeting held in Darwendale this Friday, President Mugabe said Zimbabwean experts in the mining sector should come together and form their own companies and participate effectively in the exploitation of diamonds and other minerals.
President Mugabe’s call is in line with the indigenisation and empowerment policy which has seen some foreign companies offloading some of their shareholding to indigenous companies and communities.
Cde Mugabe said while the initial phase saw foreign companies taking up 49% shares in mining companies, it is time to give skilled former mine workers opportunities to benefit from their national resources by giving them licences to mine in the newly discovered area of Chimanimani.
The President stressed the need for honesty among the indigenous companies saying they should avoid what happened in the banking sector where some owners siphoned depositors’ funds.
On elections, Cde Mugabe made it clear that they have to be held this year, saying the principals await the outcome of the Nyanga constitution-making meeting where Copac is said to be finalising the process.
He said whatever the outcome of the constitution-making process, the country has to go for elections, adding that some of those holding posts in the inclusive government and did not win any parliamentary seats in the March 2008 elections are reluctant to go for elections because they are afraid of losing their positions.
He bemoaned the poor performance in the industrial sector which has led to inadequate finance in the banks and low employment levels.
Cde Mugabe described women as the backbone of the party and commended them for the role they are playing to keep Zanu PF afloat.
Scoffing at rumours and media reports that he is frail and that he will not be able to stand the rigours of a hectic campaign, President Mugabe said it is unfortunate that those who peddle such false hoods are themselves surviving on ARVs.
The Zanu PF Women’s League National Assembly meeting endorsed Cde Mugabe as their candidate for the coming elections.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe this Friday officially opened a multi-million dollar three star hotel in Marange, Manicaland province.
The President commended the Chinese who constructed the hotel for seeing opportunities where other nations do not.
He thanked the Chinese for being Zimbabwe’s all weather friends.
The President said the hotel, Peacock Villa, has been opened at a time when Zimbabwe and its neighbour Zambia, are set to host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly next year.
He also said Zimbabwe has many tourist attractions besides the Victoria Falls.
The opening ceremony was witnessed by top government officials among other people.