Saturday 4 May 2024


PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has reiterated that no Zimbabwean will die of hunger despite challenges posed by the El Niño-induced drought, emphasising that the Government is working tirelessly to ensure sufficient food stocks until the next harvest.

The President said he had directed the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, as well as Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, to secure enough food stocks.

He was addressing a gathering that included First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, family members, senior Government and ruling party officials and ordinary people who thronged the Mnangagwa family homestead in Masvingo North constituency for the memorial service and tombstone unveiling of his late grandson, Yasha Mafidi Mnangagwa, the son of one of his sons, Sean, who died in October 2022.

He was five.

The Government, he said, had launched a nationwide initiative to establish business units in all 35 000 villages across the country.

The exercise is meant to primarily support rural women to enhance food security and bolster local economies, in line with Vision 2030. These units will consist of solar-powered boreholes to irrigate one hectare and facilities for fish farming.

“Yes, this year there is drought, but we want to assure you that, as your Government, we are doing everything in our power and capacity so that there is no family in Zimbabwe, from Zambezi to Limpopo, that succumbs to hunger because of lack of food,” said the President.

“I have my minister responsible for agriculture here, whose name is Dr Anxious Masuka and we sat down and asked ourselves what we should do so that no one and no place remains behind, and he counted all the villages in the country, and they numbered 35 000.

“So, he is rolling out a nationwide programme so that each village in this country gets a solar-powered borehole that will irrigate a fenced one-hectare plot, and women in that particular village will form a company that will run a business unit, which will also comprise a fish pond . . . Water will be there from the solar-powered borehole, so the women will be breeding fish.

“To date, so many such business units have been set up around the country. Work is ongoing and all 35 000 villages in the country will get these business units.”

President Mnangagwa, who has since declared a State of Disaster, said he was working closely with the two ministries to make sure Zimbabwe has enough food to avert hunger.

“I am working closely with him (Minister Masuka) and Minister Ncube and we have already worked out how long the food that we have in stock will last the country and also how long the food imports will last us.

“So, we want to assure you that, as a country, yes, we faced drought, but, as a country with a functional Government, no one will die of hunger or starve because we faced drought; we must agree on that!” President Mnangagwa, whose address was laced with humour, also showed his deep knowledge of the Bible.

He highlighted the need for Zimbabweans to uphold their culture and traditional values, saying they were the foundation of all progressive nations.

The Second Republic, he said, was forging ahead with developing Zimbabwe into an empowered, modern, prosperous and highly industrialised country within the next six years.

He hailed the First Lady, Dr Mnangagwa, describing her as a champion and ambassador of the country’s rich culture and traditions.

The First Lady, said the President, deserved to be honoured for conceiving the national dress that has helped define and identify Zimbabweans as a unique people with their own culture and traditional values.

“Sometimes when we are seated in Cabinet, we say, as the people of Zimbabwe, we must never forget our roots; we must not forget our culture,” he continued.

“I didn’t even know what the Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba programme was, but now I know what it is.

“There were girls who were dancing here while putting on the national dress . . . now, if you go to Ghana, they have their own national dress.

“In Eswatini, they also have theirs such that whenever you see them even at the United Nations, you can easily identify that this person is from Ghana or Eswatini.

“Here in Zimbabwe, we are now also going to be identified by our own national dress, and this national dress is a result of the First Lady’s vision.”

Turning to the memorial service and tombstone unveiling, the President said yesterday was a day to celebrate his late grandson’s short life.

He also briefly narrated his grandson’s last day, saying Yasha Mafidi was very close to his grandmother, Dr Mnangagwa.

He thanked his in-laws, the Kutyauripos; the Mangwiros, who are the family of his daughter-in-law, Yasha Mafidi’s mother; and other relatives for joining the Mnangagwa family in celebrating his late grandson’s life.

Addressing the same gathering, the First Lady thanked Zimbabweans for the support they extended to her family following the passing on of her grandson.

“From the time we lost our grandson, you have been standing with us,” she said.

“I want to thank you — the people of Masvingo; the people of Zimbabwe in general — for your love and kindness, and for standing with us during the time we lost our beloved grandson.

“I watched my grandson as he was growing up, and he was a passionate farmer, and I tried my best to support him to hone his interest in farming.

“I also challenge you fellow Zimbabweans to look at your children as they grow and help them hone their talents and areas of interest.”

She thanked everyone who attended the memorial service and tombstone unveiling, including her family members from Mashonaland Central province, saying the day was for remembering and reflecting on the life of her late grandson.

Present at the memorial service were senior Government and ruling party officials, including Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Dr Jenfan Muswere; Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando; Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Lovemore Matuke; Chief Fortune Charumbira, the president of the Pan-African Parliament; and Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira, among others.

The Mnangagwa family donated food hampers to those who attended. Sunday Mail


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