‘Binga will never be the same again’ President Mnangagwa hands over a fishing rig ignition key to chief Siachilaba while flanked by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga (left) and Zanu-PF second secretary Kembo Mohadi during the official handing over of the rigs to chiefs from Binga and Kariba yesterday. (Pictures Obey Sibanda)

Prosper Ndlovu in Binga
BINGA District will never be the same again as the Second Republic is determined to swiftly implement transformative projects that will positively impact on people’s livelihoods, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.

Addressing thousands of people who gathered to witness the official commissioning and handover of fishing rigs to 21 chiefs, 17 from Binga and four from Kariba, President Mnangagwa said Binga will no longer lag behind in terms of development.

He admitted that over the years Binga has been regarded as under-developed and said that record must be reversed as the New Dispensation was focused on driving inclusive development.

In addition to the bold empowerment initiative that is expected to kickstart community driven commercial fishing projects at the Mighty Zambezi River, President Mnangagwa said he was committed to fulfilling all the promises he made to the people of Binga during his recent visit when he addressed a star rally at Siabuwa Business Centre.

President Mnangagwa inspects fishing rigs yesterday

He directed key ministries to swiftly implement all pending infrastructure projects in Binga that include rehabilitation of roads, construction of a vocational training centre and a new border post, borehole drilling, setting up of a nursing school at Binga Hospital and the refurbishment and operationalisation of the hospital mortuary.

“We are back again in Binga to fulfil the promise we made to you a few weeks ago,” said President Mnangagwa who spoke fluent Tonga.

“Today’s programme empowers you to do fishing business and have money in your pockets. As the Second Republic our drive is that no part of the country must be left behind.

“We looked at Binga and it seemed to lag behind but today we are celebrating because development has come your way, now is the time to work together and transform our country.”

While Zimbabwe has vast tracts of arable land, President Mnangagwa said Binga, unlike other places, did not benefit from the land reform as it does not have farms.

Hence, the Government saw it fit to empower the community to harness business opportunities from the Zambezi River through facilitating comercial fishing.

“So, we have come to give you empowerment to do commercial fishing and get money to build beautiful homes and take your children to schools,” said President Mnangagwa.

“For a country to develop, it should have good roads, and I hope you are seeing that roads are being developed. The contractors you see around here must remain here until all roads are fixed.”

In line with regional and global expectation, President also said his Government would ensure that every village in Binga has access to clean water.

To that end, he said he has dedicated a Presidential borehole drilling rig to stay in Binga until all chiefs have access to clean water and solar powered systems. This includes responding to the reality of climate change through building dams all over the country.

President Mnangagwa said funding has already been availed to repair the Binga mortuary immediately, as well as making sure that clean water is supplied to the district hospital.

“When we came earlier we landed at the aerodrome and we saw that it was old. I then directed our transport ministry to rehabilitate it,” said the President.

We also have devolution funds given to every local authority and Binga will get its portion and channel these to your own priority projects, not those from Harare. The figure to be given to Binga is $408 million.”

As the listening leader, President Mnangagwa said his Government has given the Binga community the nod to establish a local board to unlock more development as well as rolling out a comprehensive programme for awarding of birth certificates and identify cards.

“You requested to have a registry office and we will build a new one. But we have our teams already moving around to assist you get birth certificates and identity cards,” he said.

Already this week’s Cabinet has reported that four teams have been deployed to assist Binga communities to get registry services for free, said President Mnangagwa.

This includes the scraping of historic stringent requirements of witnesses, parental records and so forth. “We have given the minister the power to relax all those requirements and make it easy for people to get key registry documents.

“This is because what’s important is not the paper, but the person. Papers are just for identity and it is the person who is important to do production and drive development in the country,” said President Mnangagwa, amid applause from the large gathering.

He also said schools and clinics in Binga will to be connected to electricity and directed the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Soda Zhemu, to ensure that the newly commissioned 5MW Solgas power plant output at Cross Mabale be channelled to Binga.

“We want our children to learn science subjects and we are going to build two boarding schools in Binga.

“We are putting in place a programme that by next year this time when I come here all our schools, clinics and roads and livelihoods are transformed,” said the President.

“You said you want a vocational training school and we have availed the funding for that to the Ministry of Higher Education.”

President Mnangagwa also said a new nursing school will be established in Binga while efforts are underway to procure and deliver two ambulances so as to improve health service delivery.

He said Binga has over the years become a haven for non governmental organisations, who thrive on people’s poverty and said that narrative must come to an end.

“That is why we want to have projects that empower you to generate your own wealth.

“Regarding food supply, don’t worry about NGOs, the Second Republic will make sure you get food for free,” said President Mnangagwa.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the handover of fishing rigs to the Binga community fulfills a commitment by the Second Republic to uplift livelihoods of previously marginalised communities.

“We salute President Mnangagwa for walking the talk when he said he will be back in Binga,” he said. “This is in line with NDS1, which is focused on inclusive empowerment and driving towards Vision 2030.”

VP Chiwenga also said President Mnangagwa was a leader who identifies with all citizens of this country including traditional leaders who are custodians of traditional values and national identity.

“As we journey towards 2023 harmonised polls, the Binga community should have these memories,” he said.

In his remarks, Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Richard Moyo, said the President has shown serious commitment to transforming Matabeleland North as a whole as shown by his constant visits to assess progress and launching of new development projects.

He mentioned flagship projects such as the Lake Gwayi-Shangani, to be completed this year and the 600MW Hwange expansion project whose first unit will be commissioned in November this year.

“We are humbled by empowerment initiatives initiated by the Second Republic to develop Binga and the whole province,” he said.

“The fishing boats being handed over today were manufactured locally as an empowerment drive.

“People from the province are very grateful Your Excellency.”

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said the Binga-Kariba fishing rigs commissioning shows that President Mnangagwa is a listening leader.

He revealed how the President tasked his deputy, VP Chiwenga, to supervise ministers to push the local manufacturering of the fishing rigs, cold rooms and all the necessary accessories to ensure project success.

Binga chiefs, led by Senator Chief Siansali said the fishing rigs programme would be a game changer to their communities and paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for bringing to fruition their long awaited dream.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture Douglas Karoro, Deputy Chief Secretaries to the President and Cabinet, George Charamba and Reverend Paul Bayethe Damasane, among other senior Governent officials also attended the event.

The transformatiom of Binga is in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1), a five year blueprint that connects 2021 to 2025 and is a key building block towards Vision 2030.

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