Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Second Republic is championing equal participation of all Zimbabweans in national development and embracing the Unity Accord in line with President Mnangagwa’s philosophy that no one and no place should be left behind.
Yesterday, the country celebrated Unity Day marking 35 years since the signing of the Unity Accord.
Since coming to power, President Mnangagwa has driven inclusive economic growth and development with some formerly marginalised districts and communities now part of the Second Republic’s development agenda.
Some empowerment projects being implemented in Binga and Tsholotsho districts under the Second Republic are changing the discourse for the communities that had been lagging behind for years.
The Second Republic interventions have, in consistence with the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1), continued to be centred on scaling up the implementation of projects with the priority being on completing the ones, which had stalled for years.
The Government committed to develop Binga and notable projects which have been implemented include the operationalisation of Binga Polytechnic College, rehabilitation of roads, construction of a vocational training centre and a new border post, setting up of a nursing school at Binga District Hospital, refurbishment of the hospital mortuary.
The government recently completed the rehabilitation of the Binga Airstrip.
The opening of Binga Polytechnic College is set to change the narrative around the district, which, for years, has been viewed as a producer of menial labourers for other regions.
When President Mnangagwa visited Binga in April, the local leadership briefed him on the challenges they faced in the district and true to his philosophy, he acted on the concerns raised.
The coming in of the Second Republic also saw members of the previously marginalised San community in Tsholotsho being included in broad-based empowerment programmes.
President Mnangagwa’s administration facilitated the recruitment of members of the San community into the country’s security services.
Cabinet resolved that the country’s security services should set up a quota system for the San community as part of their integration into the broader society.
In June, a total of 20 youths, comprising eleven males and nine females from the San community became the first group to graduate as the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers during the 150th recruit correctional officers’ pass-out parade at Ntabazinduna Prison Training School.
In an interview recently, Senator Chief Siansali of Binga, who is also Matabeleland North Council of Chiefs provincial chairperson, said the Second Republic is walking the talk in terms of developing the district.
“Whenever I travelled to Binga someone would say ‘Chief ngicela ungidingele umfana wenkomo.’ In their minds, people always think that the best place they can get a cattle herder, maid or gardener is Binga,” said Sen Chief Siansali.
“I don’t ever want to hear anyone contacting me looking for a maid or herder because gone are those days.”
Sen Chief Siansali said the establishment of Binga Polytechnic College will help impart technical skills to those who would have not performed well in their O-level studies.
“Since independence, we never had a vocational training centre, but thanks to the Second Republic we now have a polytechnic college in Binga. Local children who might not have passed O-level can enrol and acquire a national foundation certificate upon completion of studies,” he said.
“Some school dropouts in Binga resorted to herding cattle while others travelled to other cities and towns to work as domestic workers.”
Sen Chief Siansali said President Mnangagwa has put Binga on the map.
“As we speak, most of the projects that the President promised to deliver have either been completed or are in the process of being implemented,” he said.
“Our President has Binga at heart and we are optimistic that more resources will be poured towards the development of the district.”
Speaking in Bulawayo last week, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said as the nation journeys towards an upper-middle-income economy by 2030, the Second Republic seeks to uplift the standard of living for all citizens.
“The President said no one, no place and no homestead should be left behind. We have been focusing on marginalised communities such as the San people and the Doma people in Kanyemba among others and the President is saying we don’t want to leave anybody behind,” he said.
The minister said Government is working towards implementing projects for communities on the borderline between Gwanda and Botswana, which have also been lagging behind.
Minister Moyo said the need to uplift marginalised communities is the reason why the President appointed a chief for the San community after the community had lobbied for that.
President Mnangagwa last month appointed Mr Christopher Dube as Chief Goledema making him the first chief of the San community.
Minister Moyo said appointing a chief for the San community will help preserve their culture and identity and implementation of developmental projects.
“They made demands, they want schools, clinics, and they want their own economic well-being. They want to do their own hunting and the President is saying their hunting must not be lost but regulated with conservation issues in mind,” he said.
The San community is found on the outskirts of Bulilima District, Matabeleland South and Tsholotsho District in Matabeleland North.
Prior to the Second Republic’s interventions, the San people lived in their own world, far removed from the rest of the country. Most of them did not have birth certificates or identity documents resulting in them lacking access to many services, including health and voting.
A majority of them could not access school and as a result, could not secure formal jobs, but only menial ones.
Last year, President Mnangagwa sent a team of ministers to meet the San people to hear their concerns and how they wanted them to be resolved.
Shortly after that, officials were deployed to Tsholotsho to issue birth certificates and other identity documents. More than 5 000 people benefitted.
The Government is also working on funding the building of a primary and secondary school to enhance access to education within the San community.
Former Matabeleland South Governor Cde Angeline Masuku said Unity Day in 1987 was the birth of the real Zimbabwe.
“People must always remember Unity Day just like what they do when it comes to their birthdays. This was the day that the real Zimbabwe was born when we were united as a nation,” she said.
Cde Masuku expressed satisfaction with the ongoing developments in Matabeleland South province, saying more could be done with support from the people and Government.
“When I see the development of Tuli Manyange Dam, it ignites excitement. I remember during my time as the Governor, I would visit that place, I know that it is Government’s prerogative to set up a State university, but we stood up as Matabeleland South and started the Gwanda State University project,” she said.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said unity and the President’s philosophy of leaving no person or place behind work hand in hand.
“Unity Day gives each and every person in the country some form of hope. To us, Unity Day is very important because it actually opened a lot of doors in terms of developmental issues. If it wasn’t so, we wouldn’t be talking of Lake Gwayi Shangani Dam,” she said.
“If you look at what is happening or what has been done, you will have a better understanding of the significance of the Unity Accord. Had it been that our founding fathers didn’t sit down and talk, we wouldn’t have achieved all.”
Minister Ncube urged Zimbabweans to jealously guard and cherish unity and peace in the country.
“Unity Day is important to our lives and it should not be taken lightly. Even in our homes, if you overlook unity, the family unit will be broken. We need to celebrate this day because of its magnitude, and take note of what happened before the signing of the Unity Accord,” she said. — @nqotshili
Article Source: The Chronicle