Felex Share, Harare Bureau
President Mugabe yesterday swore in the new Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Cde Cain Mathema who immediately pledged to solve problems facing former freedom fighters.
Also to take oath of office before the President at State House yesterday was the new Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Ambassador Aaron Maboyi Ncube.
The two were absent when the Head of State and Government swore in three other new Cabinet ministers and three Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs following a reshuffle announced on Monday.
Cde Mathema, who takes over from Cde Tshinga Dube, said he would do his best to improve the welfare of war veterans.
“I will do the best I can to assist the President because we are doing all these things for him as leader of the country and Zanu-PF,” he said.
“We are merely appointees; he deploys us and I am grateful for the faith he has in me.”
On the challenges bedevilling the war veterans, Cde Mathema said: “There are many challenges like all government departments but remember I went to war in 1968 with the likes of Solomon Mujuru. There were challenges then and these challenges as compared to the challenges of 1968 are really nothing. It is a new phase of our struggle so I will face it as I faced the struggle in 1968. I will do the best I can.”
Ambassador Maboyi Ncube said he would work towards unlocking the potential Matabeleland South province had. “The province has always been disadvantaged and so I will be working from the basis of a disadvantaged area,” he said.
“It is disadvantaged in two ways: first in that it is prone to droughts yet it has one of the richest soils in Zimbabwe. Secondly, it is the province with the largest number of cattle in this country and at times farmers run out of pastures for their livestock. Whatever projects we are likely to embark on, they will be based on these two major concepts. We have to alleviate hunger through the provision of irrigation schemes because it hardly rains. Most of the rivers in Matabeleland region pass through Matabeleland South yet all the water goes down to Mozambique and causes a lot of havoc there. We would like to assist Mozambique by harvesting some of that water so that we can utilise it for the benefit of the people.”
He said reviving the beef industry was among his priorities.
“As far as livestock is concerned, we would like to develop the beef industry,” Ambassador Ncube said.
“Beef canning was in the past done in Matabeleland South. We would like to revive that and the Cold Storage Commission Bulawayo factory will definitely be a priority. I don’t know about the new abattoir of donkeys I heard about but we will concentrate on cattle and goats. In turn we want to develop the industry of hides and skins to make shoes and other related things. I will attempt to rectify the anomalies that have been affecting Matabeleland South.”
Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko and Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda witnessed the swearing in ceremony.