Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
President Mugabe yesterday slammed the leadership of Mashonaland Central for neglecting some areas in the province which are lagging behind in development. He was dismayed that 36 years after independence, places such as Murongwe in Dande did not have primary schools, let alone secondary ones. Officially opening Murongwe Primary School and clinic in Dande, built by the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) and its partners among them Zimplats Holdings, Liquid Telecoms and individuals like Prof Hope Sadza yesterday, President Mugabe said his focus was on the construction of secondary schools not knowing there were some areas without primary schools.
Pupils were learning in dilapidated makeshift classrooms that have since been transformed into modern learning structures, courtesy of funds from the AFZ’s Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe Charity Fund and the partners. The school, whose construction began in 2011, now has eight electrified classroom blocks including a computer laboratory and 10 teaching staff quarters.
The Dande community also contributed towards construction of the school and clinic by providing labour and other services while AFZ Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri promised to construct a secondary school soon.
The clinic was equipped courtesy of the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Air Marshal Shiri said he identified the educational needs of the area during his visits to the Dande area to reconnect with people he had earlier on worked with.
“Hongu, tingati taita mufaro nekuona chikoro ichi asi chokwadi, chokwadi pamoyo pangu ndatsamwa. Ndatsamwa zvikuru-kuru,” said President Mugabe.
“Where was the leadership yeMashonaland Central? Kumahombe-kombe takatenderedza. Kuno kwakasara sei? I hope we do not have spots such as this one.
“Ini ndange ndichitofunga kuti basa ratave naro harisi rekuvaka primary schools but is establishing secondary schools kwadzisiri kana kune shoma. Ndichiti tatenderera, tapedza. Ndisingazive kuti I am cheating myself. Tichine mabhanga saka takasiya nzvimbo nenzvimbo dzichine mabhanga. Kurima kwatakaita hatina kutsetsa. Perhaps sezvandataura, this may not be the only place that has experienced our omission, our lack of attention. Anyway, there it is. Vanoti better late than never.”
Before the intervention of the AFZ and its development partners, the school comprised of makeshift grass-thatch, pole and dagga structures. President Mugabe handed over two symbolic keys to Chief Chiswiti representing the two institutions, the clinic and primary school.
Mashonaland Central leaders who were present when the President Mugabe registered his displeasure included Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere who is also the Zanu-PF national political commissar, Mashonaland Central Minister of State Advocate Martin Dinha and Zanu-PF provincial chairman Cde Dickson Mafios.
President Mugabe continued: “Hurumende yedu tichivamba, takati hapana mwana anofanira kusarira shure. Dzidzo kuvana vose. Haisisiri dzidzo yevarungu chete, dzidzo kuvana vose. Dzidzo kunzvimbo dzose. Vatungamiri vedu vekuparty, vehurumende chionai nzvimbo dzakasiyana-siyana hurongwa huripo here hwekuvaka zvikoro?
“Nzvimbo dzose parege kuita nzvimbo inosaririra. Zhinji nzvimbo dzaive nemaprimary schools. Chipata-pata chakaitwa nevanhu chekuzvivakira zvikoro chakave chipata-pata chekuvaka masecondary schools. Asi isu takave neruzivo rwekuti nzvimbo dziri kumahombekombe hadzina kunge dzichisvikwa nyore-nyore. Ngadzitarisiswe, zvikoro zvivakwe. Zvino kuti tisvike muna 2016 kuno kuDande, hapana ange asingazive mbiri yako. Hayaingove mbiri yekurwa chete, inova mbiri yenhoroondo yevakuru vedu yematongerwo enyika yedu yaMunhumutapa.
“Literacy rate yedu yange ichisiyaka izvi. In addition, ini ndakaita policy yekuti ngatitsvagiridzei kumahombe-kombe nzvimbo dzatinofanira kubatsira nezvikoro. Takagona kuzviita kuvaTonga kuisa zvikoro ikoko, kuita kuti tsika yavange vainayo yekungoraura hove ichinjwe. Iyezvino vave nevakomana vakaenda kumauniversity – Presidential Scholarship.”
He thanked the Air Force for initiating such a huge project adding that they should do at least three or more projects of the same nature. President Mugabe said he had donated computers to all electrified schools across the country in line with Government’s computerisation programme. He said Government had plans to set up giant television screens in schools to ensure that children followed events happening across the country.
President Mugabe said he was happy that the people of Dande continued to support Zanu-PF despite being marginalised, adding that Dande was important in the history of Zimbabwe as it pioneered the Second Chimurenga.
Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri chronicled how construction of the school started in 2011 through the Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe Charity Fund. He said the fund had also helped to implement other diverse projects.
Said Air Marshal Shiri: “Zimbabwe’s education is highly rated in Africa and we are amongst the countries with the highest literacy rate in Africa. However, those statistics amount to nothing if we still have pole and dagga schools.
“Inspired by the late nationalist Nelson Mandela’s adage that education is the most powerful weapons you can use to change the world, we agreed and dedicated ourselves as the Air Force of Zimbabwe to build the school together with the parents and corporate partners.”