President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reiterated the need for unity among Zimbabweans saying it is the only vehicle of development in any nation.
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at the ‘Meet the People’ rally at Rutenga Business Centre in Mwenezi District, Masvingo Province today, the President said Zimbabweans need to be resilient because those who had colonised the country are not relenting adding that they are sponsoring some elements in the opposition to destabilise the country.
“As Zanu-PF we will continue to preach peace to develop our country. Your chairman told you about the story about a woman giving birth, so we need to be resilient. Those who had colonised us are not relenting. They are sponsoring some elements in the opposition to destabilise the country. As Zanu-PF we want to develop our country. We want unity with our chiefs and village heads preaching peace we will prosper,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the government is compiling the list of NGOs who were working with the MDC Alliance in organising the violent disturbances which resulted in the loss of lives, damages to property especially in Bulawayo, and burning down of police stations and vehicles.
“The violence we are witnessing now is what MDC Alliance was referring to ‘pavaiti tichadira jecha musadza’. As Zanu-PF we will continue to preach peace to develop our country. In Harare and Bulawayo the violent protesters were blocking people from going to work. We said we don’t want violence. We deployed the army to restore peace and order. There is now peace,” he said.
On food security, the President said though the country is experiencing inadequate rains this season, there’s enough maize in the country’s National Strategic Grain reserve, assuring the nation that no one will die because of hunger.
““We are yet to use our National Strategic Grain reserve. We are still using the surplus. We did not receive adequate rains but we have enough maize,” said President Mnangagwa.
On fuel crisis, Cde Mnangagwa said the problem has since been resolved.
“We once experienced fuel shortages and we have managed to address it. We also faced cooking oil and wheat challenges, on the wheat issue, I travelled to Russia and we have secured enough. As we speak some of the ships are already at Beira port. We are told cooking oil prices have gone up and we are going to address that,” he said
President Mnangagwa also said government has resuscitated Zupco to ease the transport problem adding that the government secured 500 buses from Belarus and most of them will ply rural routes.
He said 200 buses have also been bought locally and from South Africa, and they will also ply rural routes again.
“The buses will charge fares that we want because they are ours. We want rural economies in line with devolution,” said the President.
On agriculture, he said government will have 25 000 hectares of irrigation at Tugwi Mukosi when the master plan is completed, adding another one along Runde river is under construction.
Turning to the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge road, President Mnangagwa said government had initially gave the tender to Geiger and has cancelled that deal since the company failed to provide evidence that it once undertook a project of a similar nature.
He said negotiations with other companies are underway but the government has already started the construction of the road on its own.
The President also said he has learnt that some areas do not have radio and TV network and will direct the minister responsible to make sure that every area receives radio and television signals countrywide.
Moving on to education, the President said a bill is coming that will ensure that all primary education is free just like way back in the 80s when the country acquired its independence.
“We come to the issue of schools. We have a bill that is coming. We want to go back to the 1980s situation where Primary Education should be for free. This new law will compel parents to send their children to school. We don’t want any difference between a child in town and a child in rural areas. We want science subjects to be taught in all schools. Former president Robert Mugabe was giving computers to schools with electricity and that it was noble initiative,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said the MDC Alliance are just making noise that they won the elections and it is allowed in a democratic state but they should do that in a peaceful way.
“We called for national dialogue so that we can map a way forward and develop the country but only MDC Alliance did not show up. We shall build our country one brick at a time just like Jerusalem was built,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa thanked teachers for stopping their strike citing they agreed that the government is going to have their cost of living adjustment in April.
He said government now has a scheme for civil servants including teachers for housing and also has a recruitment programme for 3 000 teachers.
On a sad note, the President said the party lost its chairman in Bulawayo, Cde Callistus Ndlovu who has since been accorded a national hero status.