Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
DESPITE failure to access new capital from international banking institutions to finance major capital projects due to illegal sanctions, Zimbabwe under the leadership of President Mnangagwa continues to witness economic growth with several infrastructural developments taking shape across the country.
Some of the notable projects being undertaken by the Second Republic include the construction of Lake Gwayi-Shangani in Hwange district, Matabeleland North, Tuli-Manyange Dam in Ntalale in Gwanda district, Matabeleland South, the revamping of Beitbridge Border Post and the dualisation, upgrading and tolling of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway.
The Lake Gwayi-Shangani project is a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP), which upon completion in December, is expected to provide a permanent water solution for Bulawayo and Matabeleland region.
A 245km pipeline will be constructed to connect the water body to Bulawayo and this phase is expected to be complete by 2022. Government has since allocated $535 million towards commencement of the pipeline.
The Tuli-Manyange Dam, with a holding capacity of 35 million cubic metres of water, is a significant milestone under the Second Republic in improving the livelihood of rural communities as it will provide raw water for irrigation purposes.
It is envisaged that once the Tuli-Manyange Dam is complete, at least 2 000 hectares will be put under irrigation.
The dam is expected to service Vela, Guyu Business Centre, Ntalale Business Centre, Chelesa Business Centre, Sizhubane Barracks, Manama Mission and Business Centre, Sebasa and Mankonkoni irrigation schemes.
The modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post is in line with Vision 2030 of attaining an upper middle-income economy, and is one of the key projects being undertaken by the Second Republic to promote the ease of doing business and trade facilitation.
Civil works of the US$300 million project are being rolled out in three phases with the first phase confined to upgrading the buildings, warehouses, roads, installing new weigh-bridges and a new main freight terminal building already complete.
The 971km Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road project whose estimated completion date is 2022 will improve transport and trade in the region. The estimated total project cost is US$2,7 billion. The highway is the busiest in the country and is part of the North-South Corridor linking the country to Sadc, Comesa and East African states.
Road rehabilitation is a key enabler in transforming Zimbabwe to an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Zimbabwe’s successful fast track land reform programme, which was implemented at the turn of the millennium, led the United States of America to impose illegal and unjustified sanctions under the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of 2001. Supplementing the US’ legislative sanctions of ZIDERA are Executive Sanctions (Executive Order 13288) of March 2003 renewable on a yearly basis.
The European Union (EU) subsequently introduced its own sanctions. The Sadc summit of August 2019 in Tanzania declared October 25 as the day on which “Member States of the regional bloc can collectively voice their disapproval of the sanctions (on Zimbabwe) through various activities and platforms until the sanctions are lifted”.
In an interview yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the decision by Sadc countries to rally behind Zimbabwe in its anti-sanctions call, demonstrates unity of purpose among regional leaders and their commitment to improving the lives of people.
“We are happy as a country that the entire Sadc is in solidarity with us in our anti-sanctions crusade. This is a demonstration of efforts our President is doing especially when he says ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and re-emphasising on re-engagement and engagement,” she said.
“For the last two decades, Zimbabwe suffered from these illegal sanctions and we have had voices, but it was actually pleasing to find that the executive of Sadc in 2019 in Tanzania designated 25th of October as a day to call for the removal of these illegal sanctions.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said despite the illegal sanctions bedevilling the country, Government continues to mobilise resources to spearhead development.
“As a country under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, we have not sat back and cried that we have sanctions imposed on us, but we have gone out to make sure that we make use of all available domestic resources. What you can see on the ground in terms of development tells you that without sanctions we would have moved at a faster pace,” she said.
The Minister said under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, the country has managed to rise above the illegal sanctions.
“Sanctions mean that Zimbabwe cannot access new capital from the international banking institutions such as World Bank, IMF and no country can develop fully using domestic mobilisation. Under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, a lot has been achieved despite these illegal sanctions such as upgrading the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu and Mutare-Harare-Bulawayo roads, which have been built using internal resources” she said.
“We have seen development in infrastructure such as roads, national housing, dam construction so that we make sure that the peoples’ lives are improved. We could do much more and even industrialise our country better as we need foreign direct investment.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said due to sanctions it was difficult for companies to come and invest in the country.
She said the sanctions were illegal as they were not sanctioned by the United Nations (UN).
“It was the Western countries and our former colonisers who continuously want to put an albatross around Zimbabwe. This was done to make sure that there is a regime change agenda in the country,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“In fact, they wanted the people of this country to scream so that they can then say we don’t need the Zanu-PF, our revolutionary party to be ruling this country. We are just calling those who put these sanctions to say ‘look they are not serving any purpose except to delay the process of economic development in our country.”
UN Special Rapporteur Dr Alena Douhan is set to make an official visit to the country from October 18 to 28 to assess the impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.
The visit by the UN Special envoy to review the impact of the illegal economic embargo also comes at a time when the country received overwhelming support at the recently held United Nations General Assembly in the United States where various countries also called for the removal of the illegal sanctions.
Minister Mutsvangwa said through the reengagement and engagement effort by President Mnangagwa, the country is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“The President has been invited to England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and we have also seen that a hand is also coming from America to say we want to work with you. As a country we do not want to be an enemy of any, we want to be friend to all,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said illegal sanctions should be removed as they are stifling progress for the people of Zimbabwe.
“The October 25th is a day we all celebrate and we want to talk to the region, continent and the global world that the illegal sanctions should be removed as they are withholding progress for our people. It is a day, which we demonstrate to the world that without these illegal sanctions Zimbabwe is ready to fly,” she said.
“It is also a reflection that as a region we are moving as a bloc in terms of ensuring that we develop our economies for the betterment of the lives of our people.”
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader and constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the support by Sadc is an outstanding achievement by Zimbabwe as it creates goodwill which will convince the international community to lift the sanctions.
“The message is that sanctions must be lifted but the rest of the issues that those who put sanctions were raising are issues that are always going to be addressed and Zimbabweans must work on those issues.
The support that Zimbabwe is getting from the Sadc region must persuade the international community to remove any remaining restrictions that have continued to be a major stumbling block in our economic growth,” he said.
“We are opposed to the imposition of penalties and Sadc moral support is an important moral case for our cause.”–@mashnets