People living near the country’s borders should enjoy special privileges, such as free movement and the creation of free trade areas for products and services, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has said.
VP Mphoko said this yesterday while addressing senior Government officials from various ministries and departments here where he was getting a briefing on several challenges the province was facing before he eventually addressed villagers, the majority of them Zanu-PF supporters.
Government had reaffirmed that position in its weekly Cabinet meetings recently, VP Mphoko said.
“We agreed in Cabinet that those people living near borders should enjoy benefits that arise from their proximity to border lying areas. This include here in Mukumbura, Beitbridge, Nyamapanda, Kanyemba and many others. They should be allowed even to move without passports when temporarily visiting nearby countries,” said VP Mphoko.
He was responding to complaints that had been raised by Zanu-PF provincial chairperson for Mashonaland Central province, Cde Dickson Mafios , who said Government officials at border posts were too rigid when enforcing policies as they did not make a distinction between those people who lived near the country’s borders and ordinary travellers.
Cde Mafios said locals were asked to pay duty, levies for buying groceries or trading activities with their counterparts in Mozambique.
VP Mphoko said he wanted to hear challenges faced by people particularly those falling under 14 ministries that he superintended ahead of his meeting with the responsible ministers next week.
He said there was need for the implementation of Zim-Asset ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.
VP Mphoko challenged local authorities to be innovative in finding ways to improve infrastructure particularly roads that were in bad shape.
“In Buhera, we have asked the rural district council to find a partner to tar the Murambinda-Birchenough Road and erect a tollgate to allow the investor to recover his money. That road is busy and important,” he said.
He said the party was considering to exempt from primary elections those sitting MPs who were deemed to be hardworking.
Presenting his briefing, Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Advocate Martin Dinha said there was no need to deploy security forces from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
at Mukumbura border to repel Renamo bandits who were destabilising Mozam- bique.
“There is no incursion here in Zimbabwe by Renamo that would warrant deployment of soldiers. We have asked our people not to cross to Mozambique illegally because they might be caught in the crossfire. What we know is that Renamo is active at the border but there is no need for deployment because the situation is under control,” said Adv Dinha.
Earlier on, Mount Darwin North MP Cde Muponora had appealed to Government through VP Mphoko that there was need to consider deployment of soldiers as a proactive strategy rather than waiting for fatalities to occur.
Adv Dinha bemoaned the absence of Zimra officials at Kanyemba Border Post saying the fiscus could be realising some revenue because there was a lot of trade going on between citizens of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“There is more money to be realised at Kanyemba than here at Mukumbura,” said Adv Dinha.