Oliver Kazunga, Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS should ignore the planned mass protests by the opposition MDC Alliance aimed at toppling the Government as this is retrogressive to development being spearheaded by Zanu-PF across the country, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.
Defence and War Veterans’ Affairs Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also Zanu-PF national chairperson, said this while addressing party supporters in Bulilima East constituency during belated celebrations following the constituency’s MP Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu’s victory in last year’s parliamentary polls.
Cde Ndlovu is also the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri’s call for people to shun protests come at a time when the MDC-A and its sympathisers are planning demonstrations on Friday.
“The hard-won Independence that you are cherishing today was brought by the living and fallen gallant sons and daughters who fought during the liberation struggle. Therefore, you should defend the freedom that you are enjoying today and us as the living heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle, we will defend the gains of the liberation struggle,” she said.
“There are some people (opposition political elements) who are mobilising the masses to stage demonstrations on the 16th of August to go about killing people, bombing and destroying infrastructure to cause despondency in our country so that they overthrow the constitutionally-elected Government.”
The economic saboteurs, Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri said, were also working in cahoots with the opposition to increase prices of basic commodities in the country to effect regime change.
“As Government, we urge the citizens not to take heed of the planned mass protests. Such barbaric acts are predisposed to retard economic and social development being advanced by the Government in sync with the aspirations of the national vision to transform the country into an upper middle income economy by 2030,” she said.
In January, the country was plunged into chaos during violent protests that saw some people losing their lives and public infrastructure being destroyed costing the country millions of dollars.
Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri said Government was championing developmental programmes aimed at transforming the economy and uplifting the living standards of citizens through income-generating projects regardless of political affiliation.
“The Government will ensure that no one starves following the drought that has ravaged the country and soon food under the drought relief programme will be distributed,” she said.
As Bulilima East Constituency was a dry region, Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri said she had been briefed before the celebrations that in the past the constituency was lagging behind on public transport and social amenities such as schools and clinics.
To alleviate the transport challenges, she said, she had been briefed that a bus will soon be plying a route to the constituency under the mass public transport system the Government has launched.
In an interview after the victory celebrations, Cde Ndlovu said he would work to promote development in Bulilima East Constituency.
“In Bulilima East constituency we have 11 rural wards and six Plumtree town wards. Of the six in Plumtree town, Zanu-PF got four and of the 11 the party got 10 so we have 14 out of 17 wards, we only lost three.
“But my attitude to work is that we have 17 out of 17 wards and I am everyone’s MP including those who did not vote for me. My challenge is get them to vote for me and if I don’t do that, that is the first line of measuring success or failure,” he said.
Cde Ndlovu said he highlighted to Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri that Bulilima East Constituency falls under Region 5, which was a dry region and thus the area was desperately in need of water.
“And she did respond to that saying the President went to China and highlighted that because of climate change, areas are getting drier and drier and we are slowly moving to Region 6.
“The President from his visit got 500 boreholes that are coming to the three Matabeleland provinces and we are likely as a district to get about 50 and these are going much deeper between 150 metres and 200 metres,” he said.
The victory celebrations were attended by the Zanu-PF political leadership from Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North provinces. — @okazunga