Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor—
YOUTH, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao yesterday shocked many when he failed to locate the Command Agriculture Programme within Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset, as he accused The Herald and its sister papers of highlighting Command Agriculture to prop up unnamed people. Zim-Asset has a cluster on Food and Nutrition under which the Command Agriculture Programme falls. But in his address to youths at a Harare hotel, the minister accused The Herald of promoting Command Agriculture at the expense of Zim-Asset.
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Said Minister Zhuwao: “ Zimbabwe is not about Command. Zimbabwe is about Zim-Asset. That is the agenda that we move with and unfortunately media has tended to want to highlight Command as if Command is the only game in town. No. It is not!” An attendee reminded the minister that Command Agriculture was part of Zim-Asset.
“It is a component. Unfortunately guys within the Zimpapers stable want to actually highlight Command because hamenowo imwe agenda yamunenge muinayo where you think that by highlighting Command murikusimudzirawo ngana na ngana, No. Handizvo! Munenge mataika,” Minister Zhuwao said.
The highly successful Command Agriculture programme, the brainchild of First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, was adopted by Cabinet and President Mugabe assigned Vice President Mnangagwa to supervise its implementation.
Minister Zhuwao went to claim that the Zimpapers was successionist and factional stable.
“Zimpapers in particular should be called to order for its editorial policy, which is successionist and factional. It must desist from that. But anyway handizvoka nyangwe ukabata newspaper ne pen hazvireve kuti unotonga.”
Minister Zhuwao did not elaborate what he meant by this.
“The Herald should desist from involving itself in politics. If they want to they should leave the paper and join politics and we face each other kwete kuti pamusana pekuti ndiri editor ndinofunga stereki. Aiwa, garai pasi mukoma, garai pasi,” he said in apparent refrence to Herald Editor-in-Chuief Caesar Zvayi.
Minister Zhuwao claimed Zimpapers was sabotaging Zim-Asset.
This is despite the fact that Zimpapers has supported the blueprint since its inception and has carried the policy blueprint on its website from Day 1.
“I think first and foremost we must recognise that Government has a programme called Zim-Asset and unfortunately the Zimpapers wants to relegate Zim-Asset to one component which is Command. No. That is wrong,” said Minister Zhuwao.
“Our approach as a ministry is that we must integrate young people within the framework of Zim-Asset. For example in food security and nutrition, we have established Youth feed Zimbabwe as a mechanism for integrating young people into food and security. We have also established Youth shape Zimbabwe to integrate young people within the framework of the utilities and infrastructure cluster, youth make Zimbabwe within the framework of the beneficiation and value addition cluster and youth employ Zimbabwe within the framework of poverty eradication and social services cluster.”
This is not the first time Minister Zhuwao has displayed embarrasing ignorance of Government policy as President Mugabe had to issue out a statement on April 11 2016 clarifying Government’s position on the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy after a series of howlers from Minister Zhuwao who is supposed to administer the policy.