Binga revels in hosting National Culture Month President Mnangagwa greets Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Judith Ncube, while Zanu PF Bulawayo Provincial chairman Cde Jabulani Sibanda and other members look on upon his arrival at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo on his way to Binga yesterday.

Nqobile Bhebhe, Vusumuzi Dube in Binga, Nqobile Tshili in Bulawayo

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said Binga, in Matabeleland North Province, is today the centre of national attention as the Government launches the National Culture Month to preserve and celebrate the country’s diverse cultural identity.

The President said this yesterday while addressing scores of Zanu-PF supporters who had gathered to receive him soon after landing at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport.

Party supporters broke into song and dance as the President joined them in singing, as some of them chanted “ED Pfee!”

President Mnangagwa said he had arrived in Bulawayo en-route to Binga where Government is launching National Culture Month.

“So, today I’m here because tomorrow we are going to be in Binga. We have as a country and as a people, culture. So, in the promotion of our African culture we want to make sure our generation recognises that we are African people with a culture. If we lose our culture, we lose our identity. So, tomorrow the whole country will be in Binga, the whole Government will be in Binga celebrating our diverse cultures,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President will kick off festivities with a ground-breaking ceremony for a clinic in Mabobolo Village and the commissioning of classroom blocks at Mabobolo Secondary School, under Chief Pashu.

The classroom blocks were constructed by the Dutch Reformed Church of Zimbabwe.

The President will then proceed to Kariyangwe Secondary School under Chief Siansali where he will preside over the launch of the National Culture Month held under the theme: “Promoting Cultural Diversity, Unity and Peace.”

Tomorrow the district will also be witnessing the installation of Chief Binga at Bulawayo Kraal Primary School.

The launch at Kariangwe High School is part of deliberate efforts by the Second Republic to decentralise all national events incorporating every citizen as a demonstration of “leaving no place and no one behind”.

In an interview, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo applauded the Second Republic for nominating Binga District to host a national event.

“This is a huge development that has left the district surprised and happy at the same time,” said Minister Moyo.

“Surprised in the sense that, the community wonders why the Government has selected the district to host such an important national event. Since 1980, the district has never hosted a major national event. So the district is extremely happy and proud to host the launch of the National Culture Month and also to spend time with His Excellency, President Mnangagwa.

“These are tangible results of the Second Republic’s devolution drive that seeks to spread national events to even remote areas of the country.”

 Minister Moyo said the hosting of the event will leave a lasting legacy to the whole district.

“For instance, 20 boreholes have been drilled for the benefit of the community and roads rehabilitated. Since we expect thousands of people, local businesses expect to experience increased sales of their various products. Also, in terms of accommodation, the local hospitality sector will see an increase in room occupancy boosting local tourism,” said Minister Moyo.

A Chronicle news crew yesterday caught up with several villagers who expressed happiness at getting an opportunity to interact with the First Citizen. 

Mr Alexander Dube, the Ward 19 village head, was one of them.

 “This is an historic occasion for the Binga community, this has never happened that a national event is launched here. This shows that the Government cares about us,” he said.

“What excites me the most is that our Tonga culture is being preserved and will be showcased to the national leadership and the whole country. I hope that our youths will be inspired to carry on the button of our rich history.” 

Fiona Mukombwe (29) from Ward 14 under Chief Dobola said she is ecstatic to get a chance to meet up with President Mnangagwa and the country’s top leadership.

“It’s a historic moment. As a Binga villager I am happy to get a chance to see President Mnangagwa tomorrow (today). I am also happy that our Tonga culture is recognised national,” she said.

Another villager, Rita Tshuma (29), also under Chief Dobola, said she will not miss the moment to witness such a momentous cultural occasion.

“I am also happy and proud that President Mnangagwa would be in Binga. I will attend the event. It’s rare that the country’s leadership visits Binga. Our roads have been rehabilitated and that is real development,” she said.

A 18-year-old Mr Better Muzambwa said as a youth, he was excited that President Mnangagwa was visiting Binga District for the second time.

“We are hosting the President for the second time in two years, this in itself is exciting especially to us as youths as we can now safely say we now know the President of Zimbabwe.

“Come tomorrow (today) we will be headed to Kariyangwe in our numbers to celebrate our culture and also interact with our President. The fact that our district was chosen shows the significance of the Tonga culture to this nation,” said Mr Muzambwa.

Atumuyande Mudenda (22) echoed Mr Muzambwa’s sentiments noting that the launch of the National Culture Month in Binga will give them an opportunity to show the nation what the Tonga culture is all about.

“We are proud of our culture as from the moment we were born, our parents raised us in the Tonga culture and tomorrow’s (today’s) festivities will certainly give us an opportunity to proudly exhibit our culture,” said Mr Mudenda.

Meanwhile, in Bulawayo before proceeding to Binga, President Mnangagwa also talked about his recent trip to Egypt.

 “I’m very happy that you came to receive me. We arrived yesterday evening from Egypt where we went for a conference invited by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt His Excellency, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. There was a Zimbabwe Day on the 24th of May,” said President Mnangagwa.

“On the Zimbabwe Day, as Zimbabwe we were presenting our case in relation to debt, areas removal, clearances and resolutions. This debt, because of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe for the last 23 years, has been ballooning as a result of penalties and interest because we were not able to service as a result of sanctions imposed on our country.”

He said when his Government came to power it made a commitment towards servicing the international debt despite being stifled by illegal sanctions imposed on the country. 

 “When the Second Republic came in, we made token payments to all our creditors as a result of that they felt that we were not bad debtors and a Zimbabwe Day was created for us to articulate our way forward. Every country has a debt, but we have what we call Paris Club where countries can go and negotiate their debt for either variation or cancellation. But because Zimbabwe is on sanctions we don’t have that platform,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said as part of efforts to service the country’s debt, the Government established Zimbabwe’s Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution Strategy.

This has seen Government holding 4th High-Level Debt Resolution Forum on how to service the debt under the process spearheaded by African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina and former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano.

He said the engagement to clear the country’s debts are yielding positive results as most of Western world creditors were attending the debt clearance and debt resolution engagements.

“I’m happy that not a single creditor was against our appeal. We were positively received and I believe that we are on the road to success,” said President Mnangagwa

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