First Lady leads clean-up exercise in central Harare First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa leads in a clean-up campaign in the Harare Central Business District yesterday.

Tendai Rupapa-Senior Reporter

STREETS, buildings and bus ranks in Harare’s central business district (CBD) were yesterday left sparkling clean and with a breath of fresh air, thanks to environment patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa who joined hands and led spouses of Government Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Permanent Secretaries in cleaning the areas as part of the zero waste movement.

Church members, female councillors, tertiary students and recycling groups were also part of yesterday’s programme as they supported Amai Mnangagwa’s vision to give the capital city the ambience it deserves.

Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe was present to support the First Lady’s noble initiative in his capacity as the spouse of Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Chido Sanyatwe.

Participants were left with an overwhelming feeling that initiatives such as the one led by the First Lady would go a long way in curbing cholera.

Dr Mnangagwa is a signatory to the Global Zero Waste Goodwill Declaration to implement sustainable waste management and share best practices for its wider recognition and implementation.

Signatories to the declaration pledged to support initiatives, campaigns, programmes, projects and activities that promote zero waste to encourage responsible waste production and consumption.

There were various groups during the clean-up, including the one led by the First Lady, which covered various parts of the city culminating in the launch of a litter sorting cage in the historic Africa Unity Square.

The First Lady cleaned highly populated areas and shopping complexes where it emerged that people throw litter everywhere, including through the windows of buses and kombis.

Dr Mnangagwa’s first port of call was Market Square in downtown Harare where she rallied shop operators, including those around the Gulf complex to join her in the clean-up.

They gladly responded to the First Lady’s plea and joined her in cleaning their shops and surrounding areas.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa leads a clean-up campaign in Harare yesterday.

She proceeded to the bus terminus where she implored drivers and conductors to ensure the environment was always clean and to have bins in their buses and kombis. They also joined her in cleaning the rank and around the Kopje police post in the area before proceeding to shops along Harare Street. 

Shoppers were left in awe seeing the First Lady and her team cleaning pavements along Kaguvi Street where she enjoined everyone, including shop operators to keep the environment clean in the wake of a cholera outbreak, prompting shop operators to follow suit and place their litter in provided bins.

So much dirt was wiped out, showing that indeed not much was being done to clean up the environment, hence the First Lady’s intervention.

The First Lady, who celebrated her birthday on Sunday, was treated to a surprise birthday song by saxophonist Denilson Musekiwa.

In her remarks, Dr Mnangagwa paid tribute to all women who were part of the programme yesterday.

She also handed over branded bins to the Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Charles Tawengwa for onward distribution to Government complexes.

“Special recognition to all women here present. Today has been our working meeting for us as women. I have called you so that we see the outlook of our home, which is not what we anticipate our home to be like. 

“The spouses of our ministers, deputy ministers and permanent secretaries who are with us today, women from churches, all women across the board and everyone who participated, thank you for accepting my invitation.

“Thank you for coming and committing yourselves towards the implementation of the zero-waste movement in our beautiful Zimbabwe. It is my singular honour to be with you here in Harare CBD as we embark on an environmental journey under the zero waste movement,” she said.

As the environment patron, Dr Mnangagwa said she was excited about what she believed could take the country forward as far as waste management was concerned. 

People pick up litter during a clean-up campaign with First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in Harare yesterday.

“This comes from the potential embedded in our waste management architecture as a country. Waste management is among the most pressing emerging environmental issues confronting most urban local authorities throughout Zimbabwe drivers and pressures to these include increased waste generation due to high population densities, increased packaging and notable change in consumption behaviour among other push factors. 

“As a country we have noticed that there is a mismatch between waste generation and management which is now a cause for concern as our local authorities continue to struggle to contain the deplorable state of waste management,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa painted a picture of what the Global Zero Waste Goodwill Declaration denotes.

“Ladies and gentlemen I joined other global First Ladies in signing a Global Zero Waste Goodwill declaration to implement sustainable waste management practices on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in September 2023. I became one of the 30 First Ladies who have appended their signatures to the pledge running under the theme: “The world is our common home path to the global zero waste movement.” 

“This pledge seeks to encourage governments, businesses and individuals to adopt zero-waste policies and practices to support the development of zero-waste infrastructure to raise awareness on the benefits of zero waste and inspire others to take action. 

“I am, therefore, excited to be part of this movement and work to ensure that we create a zero-waste society living in a clean and healthy environment. 

“I am happy to say that Zimbabwe is already making some progress in the area of reducing waste through the national clean-up campaign which helped to increase participation in this initiative, training on recycling as a business which has helped to encourage more people to get involved in the growth of the economy and recycling policies which make it easy for people to recycle,” she said.

To build on this progress, the First Lady said there was need to work together in raising awareness towards zero waste in communities and all other business places. 

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa leads in the clean-up campaign in Harare yesterday.

“In line with NDS1 to support the development of zero waste infrastructure and capacity, I call upon the Government and all other stakeholders to increase their investment in zero waste infrastructure in the form of waste transfer stations, buy-back centres and recycling centres across the country.

“I am happy to share with you that all spouses of our ministers, their deputies and permanent secretaries have already pledged their commitment towards joining me in championing the zero waste movement in Zimbabwe. Thank you so much. Vana mai you have proven that musha mukadzi. 

“As women today we have arisen because there is so much filth in our communities and we have said today it is all over. I am also reliably informed that already there are groups who after hearing the news of my signing of the global zero waste movement declaration organised themselves in readiness to assist me in the rolling out of the movement in the country. 

“Special mention goes to Zimbabwe Sunshine Group, Recycling Lady, Clean Marondera and so many others that I have not mentioned here. Well done my children. Come so that we work for our country, clean our communities, clean our cities. 

“Together we can do it. Ladies and gentlemen, among other several approaches in the implementation of this movement in our country where the separation of waste at source and recovery of recyclable material. Imagine if all of us can religiously do that at all levels of our society, then there will be no waste going to landfills and even our environment confirming the zero waste movement. 

“As such today I have also taken the time to launch this waste separation facility to just set the tone. However, we are moving towards increased investment in zero waste infrastructure in the country as this is going to cascade down to all towns, cities and rural service centres. 

“It is high time we go beyond the broom and move to more sustainable ways of waste management. Zero waste is possible and together we can,” she said.

Iyasa drama and dance group performs a play about the need and importance of keeping the country clean during a clean-up campaign in Harare yesterday.

Amai Mnangagwa also said plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, imploring people to use alternative carrier bags which are environmentally friendly.

Speaking at the same occasion, Environment, Climate and Wildlife Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu praised the First Lady for her commitment to achieving environmental sustainability.

“Your recent signing of the Global Zero Waste Goodwill declaration Your Excellency, is highly commendable and as Ministry we see it as a significant step forward for the country’s commitment to achieve environmental sustainability. 

“On behalf of the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, I would like to express our deepest appreciation to you Amai for prioritising environmental issues. Your passion for sustainable development and environmental protection is indeed inspiring and unparalleled, one that we should cherish and emulate,” he said. 

Minister Ndlovu pledged to rally behind the First Lady’s programmes to foster their success.

“Our pledge to you Amai is that we will be your forerunners in all your noble initiatives and we take it upon ourselves to ensure that they are successful. As earlier indicated, the Global Zero Waste Goodwill Declaration is a significant milestone in the global movement towards zero waste. 

“As you forge ahead with the sustainable waste management agenda, we will preach the zero waste movement gospel to all citizens leaving no one and no place behind. 

People welcome First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa after a clean-up campaign in Harare yesterday.

“True to this standing national mantra, your excellency may I take this opportunity to passionately appeal to all stakeholders across the societal divide to adopt appropriate waste management practices that include the adoption of streets for cleaning up, clearing of illegal waste dumps, reducing waste generation at source, providing requisite waste receptacles at designated places and shunning the use of single-use plastics among others. 

“All Government ministries, departments and agencies should continuously commit resources to push the zero waste movement campaign drive,” he said.

Minister Tawengwa also expressed gratitude to women for supporting the First Lady’s initiative.

“We thank all mothers for coming out in your numbers. Allow me to sincerely welcome you all to Harare metropolitan province, the pulse of the nation. I want to thank verily all who have come to this programme being spearheaded by the First Lady to protect our environment. 

“As patron of the environment, we know your love for the people, their lives and their communities to be habitable as we breathe fresh air and you have exemplified that today indeed. You have shown that it is possible. 

“As Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province, I humble myself greatly. Your zeal and wish to see all citizens living well is commendable. We thank you for all the work that you are doing. 

Environment and Tourism patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa hands over litter bins to Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan for distribution in the province, while Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife Mangaliso Ndlovu looks on after a clean-up campaign in Harare yesterday.

“I am thankful that in the not-too-distant past, Amai signed a Global Zero Waste Goodwill Declaration which shows that countries are committed to sage environments for today, tomorrow and the future and it shows that we shall bequeath to future generations an inheritance of clean habitable spaces that are clear of pollution. 

“This shows that declaration enjoins her to make people aware of the need to work together to end pollution and ensure waste is discarded responsibly,” the minister said.

Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Service Chaplain Christine Phiri paid glowing tribute to the First Lady for her efforts to ensure the city is clean and regained its lost lustre.

“Amai, you saw it fit to come out with women in their numbers to clean the capital city of Harare and for that, we are grateful as you always say cleanliness starts from our homes. When some mothers change diapers, they throw them anywhere and they are then blown by wind and rain which make them end up in our drinking wells and cholera affects us. 

“The bottles we are throwing all over as children get cut as they play. Our mother is saying we all have a task to clean our surroundings and sort litter. Let us all be responsible. A clean country is a healthy one,” she said.

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said he was charmed by the First Lady’s focus on Harare in many of her programmes.

Saxophonist Denilson Musekiwa plays a happy birthday song to First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa at Africa Unity Square after a clean-up campaign in Harare yesterday. Pictures: John Manzongo.

“We are thankful for the efforts by the First Lady in the city of Harare. We have had several occasions from tree-planting, clean-up projects, street kids rehabilitation and a whole host of other programmes that she is focusing on especially here in Harare. We are thankful. This is our capital city which we should all be proud of. So we are very thankful for Amai’s focus. 

“What she is doing helps a lot because litter and sewage stench affect everyone despite one’s political affiliation, waste makes everyone sick, and cholera affects everyone. 

“Therefore, your vision and today’s programme is very welcome and we will complement it,” the mayor said.

Comedian and musician Kapfupi, arts ensemble Iyasa, gospel musician Mathias Mhere and Diana Samukange provided entertainment and edutainment.

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