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Chamisa looks to rejuvenate countryside

MDC-T and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa addressed a rally at Kondo Business Centre in deep rural Chipinge West in Manicaland province.
MDC-T and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa addressed a rally at Kondo Business Centre in deep rural Chipinge West in Manicaland province.

Chamisa pledged significant progress in rural rejuvenation if he wins elections, agricultural modernisation  and a strong agriculture sector and full realisation of farmers’ wealth.

The new plan aims to close the gap between urban and rural areas, eliminate poverty and improve governance in the countryside.

“We have said we are prioritising the rural areas where the majority of Zimbabweans live,” Chamisa said.

He said the despondent people in Seke and Mhondoro rural communities can no longer afford the laughter any more.

“I interacted with business people, opinion and community leaders who all narrated to me the sad tale of their current penury and suffering. They told me the now familiar national story of the collapsed infrastructure and social services; especially health and education and how the old and the infirm are struggling to survive under this inept government,” he said.

At the two rallies, he had the occasion to articulate his vision on the five key pillars of the MDC Alliance — governance, the economy, infrastructure rehabilitation, social services and international re-engagement.

“On governance, our government will govern and not rule. Governance involves engaging and listening to the people while ruling presupposes talking down to them. Our government will look after everyone regardless of their political affiliation,” Chamisa said.

“On the economy, our vision is to have a modern, inclusive and diversified economy by 2023.

“On social services, especially health and education, we want to ensure the nation is well served in these areas. On health, we have a comprehensive blueprint that includes both child care and adult care, a plan in which those with terminal and chronic ailments such as cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and other ailments will be able to access treatment for free.”

He said old people above the age of 65 would also be able to access free medical care in all public hospitals.

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“We have a plan to set up the best health facility in the region for those living with albinism so that they can have access to glasses and special lotions. On education, our government will provide free primary education and resuscitate loans and grants for tertiary students so as to give reprieve to suffering Zimbabweans,” Chamisa said.

He said through infrastructure rehabilitation, “we will be able to provide employment to the millions of our young and old who are failing to get a job”.

“We will resuscitate roads, railways, airports, industries and other infrastructure in a massive way that will create jobs through public works programmes.

“We have already secured funding for infrastructure rehabilitation so that Zimbabweans can find a reason to hope again,” he said.

On international engagement, “our mantra is that Zimbabwe will be best for business”.

His statement seemed a riposte to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has repeated ad nauseum that the country was “open for business” after almost four decades of oppressive rule by former leader Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, who took the top job in November following Mugabe’s dramatic resignation, has repeatedly said his priority now was embracing the international economy and modernizing infrastructure.

Chamisa also said Zimbabwe will be a safe haven for investment as investors will be assured of the safety of their ventures.

“We pledge to audit and revise all business deals being signed by the current government to see if they truly benefit the people and the country. It is ironic that every day we hear this or that mega deal has been signed when all we see around us is the mega-poverty facing the people!” Chamisa said.

He said at  Mubaira Growth Point in Mhondoro in Mashonaland West, “I found yet another despondent rural community in the midst of plenty.”

“These are the people favoured with the huge platinum reserves at the nearby Ngezi platinum mine but who are slugging it out in a quest to put food on the table,” he said.

Located about 150km southwest of Harare, Ngezi is Zimbabwe’s principal platinum-group metals producer. Operated by Makwiro Platinum Mines, owned 70 percent by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) and 30percent by the South African mining company, Impala Platinum, Ngezi has replaced the failed Hartley operation, which was developed by Australian companies BHP and Delta Gold in the mid-1990s.

Chamisa said he heard sad stories of how traditional leaders are failing to make ends meet.

“Of the 276 chiefs in the country, only 56 were given vehicles as the current government desperately tries to curry favour with the traditional leaders. We pledge to give dignity to these custodians of our culture,” he said.

“We are promising the best for the people of this country. As one young musician said in the captivating lyrics that have become the anthem of our electoral campaign, we pledge to take Zimbabwe to the next level.

“Next week, we set off for yet another rural community to interact with people in the rural areas where the majority of Zimbabweans live.”  DailyNews