(Last Updated on April 7, 2022 by zimdaily)
HARARE – Ahead of next year’s harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa says he is encouraged by the results of the recently held by-elections where the ruling party snatched two seats from the opposition and won in several wards. In an interview with French publication La Tribune last week, President Mnangagwa said in 2023, the priority for the ruling party will be on the modernisation of agriculture and the mining sectors.
“On March 26, voters were called upon to vote to elect 28 representatives to the National Assembly, following several deaths and a change of party in the opposition which required the holding of a new ballot, in accordance with our Constitution.
“We managed to win back two seats from the opposition. The same day, local elections were taking place and we managed to maintain our positions. This is, therefore, an encouraging result in view of the general elections to be held next year.”
Riding on a crest of economic and political reforms; infrastructural development through roads and dam construction, the ruling party has managed to cut the opposition dominance in urban areas, and analysts point to a watershed win for Zanu PF in next year’s general elections.
“Our priority (in 2023) will then be on the modernisation of our agriculture because Zimbabwe is endowed with fertile land which is being undermined by climate change. We will also have to modernise our production apparatus, particularly in the mining sector.
“We will also focus on education,” said the President.
Already plans are afoot to roll-out a free education programme that will see learners getting tablets to enhance e-learning, itself a policy of the Second Republic to initiate development that leaves no one and no place behind.
The country is on course to meet its US$12 billion mining sector target by 2025 — which will be premised on the re-opening of closed mines, expansion of existing mines, opening of new mines and investment in beneficiation facilities.
In the agricultural sector, Government has put in place an array of measures to mitigate the effects of climate change such as dam construction, towards a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025.
While the country’s economy has been on a recovery path, global shocks such as the Russia/Ukraine conflict have not spared Zimbabwe.
“Soaring fuel prices are impacting our economy. This finding is the same for all countries that import oil.
“Prices have fallen slightly in recent days, but we do not know if they will stabilise at this level. Still, this trend has enabled us to reduce fuel prices.
“The impacts of this crisis are also reflected in our imports of fertilisers from Russia and wheat from Ukraine.
“Not long ago, our cereal production only allowed us to cover two months of our annual consumption, but thanks to our land redistribution programme associated with our irrigation works, the level of our imports have dropped significantly. To date, we only have to import one month of our annual consumption,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the country’s decision not to vote against Russia at the United Nations (UN) following its invasion of Ukraine was taken because Zimbabwe believed in dialogue to resolve any political crisis.
“It is true that we co-operate politically and economically with the Russian Federation, but our decision is not motivated by considerations of an economic nature. Our abstention on March 23 at the United Nations is justified above all by the fact that we believe that dialogue remains the best solution to reach a settlement of the conflict between the two countries.”
Notwithstanding positive gains that have been made by the Second Republic, constrictive sanctions have limited the country’s full growth potential.
“Today, our main objective is to strengthen our competitiveness in the international market. We want to attract investors and to do this, we strive to create favourable conditions for an attractive business environment,” President Mnangagwa said.