Second Republic scores big on infrastructure Work is also in progress at the Robert Mugabe International Airport, the Rainbow Towers Hotel, the Museum of African Liberation, the Geo Pomona Waste Management Plant and the University of Zimbabwe.

Sam Matema-Herald Correspondent

Under the leadership of the forward-looking, forward-focused, transformational, pragmatic and servant leader, President Mnangagwa, the Executive is talking less and doing more across the key broad dimensions of economics, politics and the environment.

All these achievements are driving the country towards the realisation of Vision 2030. 

The first republic was long on speeches but short on delivery, and therefore it makes it both a polar opposite and antithesis of the Second Republic on many dimensions and aspects.

The major projects that the Second Republic embarked on right from the get-go show a serious statement of intent and strategic thinking and direction from leadership that sees near and far.

This arises from a genuine concern to see Zimbabwe develop, leaving no one and no place behind with respect to the development matrix of the ZANU PF-led Government. 

In the quest to attain Vision 2030, moving the country and its people up the scaffold of development, becoming an Upper Middle Income Economy, there are key fundamentals that should be in place.

It is these fundamentals that the Second Republic has been seized with right from its genesis. It has managed to correct many in its effort(s) to set the country on a recovery path, and we have every reason to celebrate such an achievement. 

Infrastructure Development

One of the key indicators of presence or lack of development in a particular country is the crane concentration in the sky. At some stage, you could not see a single crane in Harare, save for one that was at Joina City for close to 17 years. Fast forward, the Second Republic has seen a total transformation of the economy, to the extent that there is an increased concentration of cranes and scaffolds across cities. From Robert Gabriel Mugabe (RGM) International Airport to Manhize, cranes and scaffold are now a common feature. There is a whole new town taking shape at Manhize. That is as telling as it is instructive with respect to the direction that our economy is taking. Zimbabwe is on a rebound. 

Manhize Steel Plant and Gwayi-Shangani Dam are key major infrastructure projects that will be game-changers on completion. 

Manhize Steel Plant 

The Manhize plant is largest integrated steel plant to be set up in Africa that will transform the steel industry in Zimbabwe, the SADC region and beyond. With capacity to process a staggering 5 000 tonnes per annum (TTPA) of steel, and expected to create 10 000 direct and indirect jobs across the value chain, Manhize will be a game-changer.

It is expected to generate 100MW of clean electricity from wind at Manhize, 100MW from solar at its ferro chrome site at Selous and another 70MW from heat generated and captured at the plant. The mere fact that we have built a whole new town at Manhize, is telling. It shows that the path and direction are correct. 

RGM International Airport 

The expansion of the airport, which saw a new terminal being built with its handling capacity increasing from 2.5 million passengers annually to 6 million, is a massive 240 percent growth. From an aviation perspective, it means that we can now handle more aircraft and therefore more travellers. This is good for our tourism. Plans are afoot to build a new airport in Mutare to service Manicaland Province so that in the economy of time, there is value for the business community as they will take less time to connect with other destinations nationally and regionally. 

Gwayi-Shangani Dam 

For over a century, since 1912, this big project never crystallised into reality until the birth of the Second Republic who breathed life into this baby. The 650 million cubic meters water body is no longer a dream, but a reality coming to fruition right before our own eyes. The significance of it all is that it will deal with two perennial problems in Matabeleland North and Bulawayo Provinces, and the two problems are food insecurity and shortage of water respectively. For the first time, and in no time, we are going to bear testimony to an agricultural green belt stretching for 278km and an agricultural revolution from the Gwayi-Shangani confluence feeding 5 districts with 10 000 hectares targeted for irrigation along the pipeline which will spur the rural industrialisation thrust fulfilling National Development Strategy One (NDS1) targets. Tourism activities in and around the dam will head north as well as fisheries programmes blossom. The dam will also support and facilitate a green energy transition via hydro-power generation. 

Other dams 

There are major projects that are on the drawing board, those whose works have commenced and those that have been commissioned thanks to the work and dedication of the Second Republic.

Nyatana Dam at the confluence of Mazowe and Nyadire rivers, spanning across parts of Mudzi, Rushinga and Maramba-Pfungwe in terms of sphere of impact, is meant to supply Harare, Mashonaland East and Central with the precious liquid, irrigating 100 000 hectares of farmland. 

Muchekeranwa Dam stretching across Marondera and Rusape, Marovanyati (Buhera) and Chivhu (Chikomba) dams are other major provincial dams that were commissioned during the Second Republic, and it takes all of us, primarily the locals, to sweat these resources for the good of the communities that they serve. 

Work has started on Kunzvi Dam in Mashonaland East, and this, besides benefiting the surrounding immediate environment, will address perennial water shortages in the capital city of Harare. Muchekeranwa Dam is supposed to supply water to the dormitory town of Ruwa, Marondera and other eastern suburbs of Harare in the short term. 

There are 10 600 dams dotted across the country. The majority of them are either silted or invaded by serious weeds threatening their very survival and fit for purpose. We need, therefore, to be very deliberate in terms of desiltation exercises and weed control in all dams and weirs across the country so that they serve their purpose effectively and efficiently. 

Critical State roads

Murambinda-Birchenough Bridge Road which is 112km gravel, is now an emotional project as it is a human rights issue. A hidden treasure as well as it is an enabler for the growth and transformation of Buhera District, Manicaland Province and the country at large given the ripple, knock-on and downstream impact and benefits. It is the shortest route to Chipinge and the Lowveld coming from Harare, and therefore will bring major savings to the generality of the motoring and travelling public. 

Harare-Beitbridge road is the flagship and signature of the commitment and seriousness of the Second Republic to birth and mother that which she promised to do. Implemented primarily with internally generated funding, this project is a treasure that will linger in our memories as a clear testament to the possibilities that yesteryear looked insurmountable. Domestication of solutions to the challenges confronting us is the thrust and mantra of the Second Republic — Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. We have to live and walk that talk. 

Harare-Chirundu road whose ground-breaking ceremony happened on the 1st of February 2024 in Mapinga, put paid to the negative narratives to those that do not wish us well. The same contractors who worked the Harare-Beitbridge road are the ones who were given this new project on the back of the sterling work that they did. This is a key economic artery linking Zimbabwe to the DRC and Zambia, as well as the tourism sector going to Kariba and Matusadona.

The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road is set for a major upgrade given its importance in the tourism, mining, and energy sectors. Hwange, Lupane, and Victoria Falls are key tourism corridors linking up to Kazungula, Kasane and Livingstone border posts.

Border Upgrades 

Beitbridge Border Post and the new border town are a marvel if you compare them to facilities across the Limpopo in Musina. You see two polar worlds, thanks to the wonderful work that was done to transform Beitbridge by the Second Republic. Forbes (Machipanda), Cashel and Nyamapanda border posts are targets for upgrade. 

Social Development 

Anchored on the Youth Service in Zimbabwe (YSZ) to offer proper ideological orientation that should birth patriotism and sacrifice to defend the Zimbabwean flag, the re-introduction of the YSZ speaks to the general thrust and direction of travel of the ZANU PF-led government. On May 24, 2024, President Mnangagwa, re-launched the Youth Service in Zimbabwe at Nhakiwa Vocational Training Centre in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe (UMP) following-up on the 2021 Cabinet resolution on the need and urgency of the same matter. 

The express intention of the YSZ is one of inculcating the national values of ubuntu/unhu, patriotism and leadership in the country’s youthful population, and in the process realising and reaping the youth dividend across all categories. 

With 10 000 youths expected to undergo the six months training this year, the numbers are very encouraging for a start, guarding against cultural imperialism and it’s attendant ills. This socio-political intervention is critically important in view of the fact that more than 60 percent of our population is constituted by the youths who are 35 years and below. 

To show seriousness and ensure the successful implementation of the YSZ programme, the Government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Implementation Committee (IMC) to oversee the six months training programme, which covers three months of institutionalised training and community attachment.

Currency Reforms — Introduction of the ZiG 

One of the key concomitants of the success of the turn-around strategies of the Second Republic is currency reforms as a key fundamental. Speed does not matter when the vectors are wrong, and correcting the vectors has been the pre-occupation of the Second Republic. 

The central bank in its last monetary policy launched on 6 April 2024 by the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Mushayavanhu, introduced a new gold-backed currency (ZiG) to replace the bond notes. In a statement, the apex bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), said they were “recalibrating its monetary policy framework to re-anchor price and exchange rate stability and to boost confidence in the local currency.” Ever since the ZiG was introduced, it has marginally firmed against the United States dollar.

The central bank has managed to curtail money supply and the cost of money in a manner that is refreshing, promising and encouraging. Quantitative easing (QE) and printing of money have been the albatross on the economic neck of Zimbabwe, and by managing money supply on the market, this has reduced inflation and brought in price stability. It has killed arbitrage opportunities for and all speculation around the local currency. The confidence is slowly coming back, and this is what is needed to promote economic growth. 

The Re-engagement project 

Anchored on the “A friend to all and an enemy to none” mantra, the ultimate target and objective is to see Zimbabwe admitted into the family of nations, and the Commonwealth is one of the many targets meant to realise an increase and improvement in the bilateral trade and relations with everyone across the globe. This is a major project, and as a country, we need to up the game in this new year so that, that which we set out to achieve crystallises into reality. The Zimbabwean story has, over the years, been packaged and told by foreign news channels from hostile nations, and local news outlets that are handled by foreigners. It is that false narrative that we need to reverse so that the true story is projected out there. 

We need to tell our own story in more and amplified voice through various mediums and channels. We are beginning to reap the dividends of our efforts with the thawing of relations between Europe and our great country. America has been erosive in removing those that are on its sanctions list. It is this incremental value that is instructive and telling. It has just dawned on America and Europe that they will emerge the losers with respect to the regional geo-politics. Russia and China have been strategically carving their space and asserting their influence while Europe and the US have been busy with its regime change agenda in Zimbabwe. 

Strategic Thrust: A country is best built by its own people (Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo).  

In the spirit of inculcating, encouraging, and promoting the spirit of community participation and collectivism, and taking responsibility, hinged on the mantra of leaving no one and no place behind, the Government, under the direction of the astute leadership of President Mnangagwa, has been very deliberate in its approach. It has placed the burden of building the country on the shoulders of every one of us. We are all called to put our shoulders to the wheel and to put our hands on the deck working towards the shared national vision of transforming our economy to become an Upper Middle Income society by the year 2030.

We are called to become responsible stewards who should work and take care of the resources that our great nation is endowed with, and we do that in our respective localities supporting our local economies as a collective, as one people, the attendant challenges, difficulties and setbacks notwithstanding. We are called to do what we have to do with whatever is at our disposal where we are keeping our eyes on the 2030 target. It is possible! It is doable, but it calls for a lot of collective national sacrifice to defend our flag and national space. Fellow Zimbabweans, stand up and be counted as we build this great nation, stone upon stone and brick by brick. Amandla!! 

Hon. Sam Matema is the MP for Buhera Central constituency and ZANU PF Manicaland Province Spokesperson. He writes in his personal capacity.

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