President Mnangagwa yesterday opened up on his infamous Gwanda poisoning incident in 2017, saying the medical treatment that saved his life after being airlifted to South Africa inspired his mantra that a country can only be built by its own citizens (Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo).
He said this during an interactive meeting with the business community in Kwekwe yesterday, which had ambushed him for the meeting to discuss the current economic situation.
Since taking over the reins as the Head of State and Government in November 2017, President Mnangagwa has been rallying Zimbabweans to unite and work together for the betterment of the country.
Addressing the Kwekwe business community meeting at a local hotel, President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic had been working on revamping all sectors of the economy, including the health sector.
“Most of you would remember that in August 2017, I had an incident of poisoning in Gwanda and I was airlifted to Gweru,” he said. “General Chiwenga then came to pick me up, airlifting me to South Africa.
“In South Africa, I was exposed to some expert medical attention and that’s when I made a decision that this kind of medical technology should also be there in Zimbabwe. I had no idea then that they had decided to fire me back home.”
President Mnangagwa said the medical treatment that he received in South Africa inspired his vision for Zimbabwe’s health delivery system which he was now advocating.
He said Zimbabwe was for Zimbabweans and the Second Republic was determined to turn the country into a jewel, albeit with some painful austerity measures that might hurt Zimbabweans, but temporarily.
He said the journey towards a sound health system had started with the opening of a state-of-the-art pathology and diagnostic research centre in the Midlands.
The President had opened the Midlands State University National Pathology and Diagnostic Centre in Gweru before he addressed the business meeting in Kwekwe.
He said Zimbabwe was on a recovery path under the Second Republic.
He challenged Zimbabweans to be vigilant, working as a unit to overcome the illegal sanctions imposed on the country.
“So, under the Second Republic, we said nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, we must not continue to cry and mourn about the illegal sanctions that were imposed on us,” said President Mnangagwa. “We must look to what God has given us and take advantage of that.
“What ever we eat we must be able to produce, what ever we wear we must be able to produce as well.”
President Mnangagwa said there could be some temporary economic pains that were bound to be felt by the ordinary Zimbabweans as the Government sought to put the economy on the right track. He said there were some few economic saboteurs in the economy who the Government was dealing with.
“Of course, there are a sizeable number of people in the economy who are saboteurs, but if we work as a unit we will conquer them,” he said. “There might be some pain felt along the way, but we will get there. What is needed is to focus on the positives and forget about the minor challenges.”
The Head of State and Government said the Second Republic had scored a number of successes in the economy in the last few years, with the industry picking up from 35 percent capacity utilisation to around 68 percent this year.
“In 2018, industrial utilisation was around 35 percent and now we are at 68 percent and we must be proud of ourselves,” he said. “The shelve product content on our supermarkets was at 42 percent domestic content and we are now at 72 percent. All that is progress.
“We have our problems, but we should not cry and mourn about these minor challenges. These policies we feel are a pain but there are to cure some diseases and it will be a thing of the past soon.”
In their presentations to the President, the business community applauded the Second Republic for creating an enabling environment for industry.
Chairperson of the Kwekwe Business Community, Mr Thakor Patel, said the Second Republic had created a conducive environment for business through policies and other financial support systems that had seen industrial capacity utilisation growing from a mere 35 percent in 2018 to around 68 percent this year.
“We have been cut off from any financial support by the Western countries, but the Second Republic has come up with some supportive polices that have seen businesses growing,” he said. “This is a true sign of visionary leadership by His Excellency President Mnangagwa and we have continued to thrive despite these sanctions.”
Mr Patel urged fellow business people to take advantage of the conducive environment to seize opportunities to grow the economy.
“Let us take advantage of the conducive environment created by His Excellency,” he said. “The Government has made available loans from the banks, land for agriculture and mining as well. Let’s stop complaining about minor challenges and find solutions to grow our economy.
“The President has ensured that the country is self-food sufficient through the Pfumvudza programme, on top of that there are projects like Gwayi-Shangani Dam, Mbudzi roundabout, the on going Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme as well as the revamping of our irrigation systems. What is left is for us to work.”
Speaking at the same meeting , Business Economic Empowerment Forum (BEEF) president, Dr Solomon Matsa, said President Mnangagwa’s vision was being hampered by some Government officials who were sleeping on duty.
“Our President is working day in day out to come up with policies and he has succeeded in creating a conducive environment for business,” he said. “The only problem is that there are some people within Government structures who are corrupt and hinder the implementation of President Mnangagwa’s vision.
“We urge the Government to look at such people and possibly fire them as they are hampering development.”
Dr Matsa said there was need for Zimbabweans to fuse their high level of education with hard work.
Director of leading milk producer, Dendairy Pvt Ltd, Mr Darren Coetzee, commended Government for creating more liberal policies.
He said the country should be working on producing all milk products and cut on imports, but bemoaned recent increases in lending rates, saying it was putting pressure on industry.
“We understand, with what has been happening in the market recently, you had to increase interest rates,” said Mr Coetzee. “But it has become a real struggle for the manufacturing industry as we have to pay our farmers within seven days and pay for our suppliers. Not being able to borrow money has been a real challenge.”
Mr Enock Ncube, who spoke on behalf of Youths in Business, applauded the Government for availing land for the youths, which he said they were now utilising for various projects.