Friday, September 17, 2010

Zimbabwe News Update: Vice-President Mujuru Hails Inclusive Government

VP Mujuru hails inclusive govt

Business Reporters
Zimbabwe Herald

VICE President Joice Mujuru has lauded the inclusive Government as a functional agreement that should be given a chance as Zimbabwe seeks to fend off present socio-economic challenges.

Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Women in Trade and Development organisation in Harare on Wednesday, VP Mujuru said in its two years of existence, the inclusive Government had proved that the country could achieve more through unity of purpose.

The political settlement that gave way to the formation of the inclusive Government made up of Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations was endorsed on September 15 2008.

“As GNU we have come of age. We have spent two years working together so let us give it a chance. To us as women, mothers and wives this GNU must work and we will allow it to work. As we are today we are makers of the unthinkable. Women we can do it,” she said to applause from about 250 women who witnessed the launch.

Speaking to journalists after her address, the Vice President also challenged Zimbabweans to come up with homegrown solutions to challenges stressing that the West had other agendas.

The Look East Policy adopted by the Government a few years ago would work “but the East should add up to what we have”.

VP Mujuru urged women in business and professional women to help marginalised women to actively participate in the mainstream economy.

The new association was established to augment existing efforts to empower women who constitute 52 percent of the population.

“The initiative taken by these women seeks to bridge the social and economic gap between visionary professional business women and their counterparts, hardworking rural women through mentoring relationships. This development shows women’s determination in their quest for economic emancipation in search for individual dignity and self confidence,” she said.

VP Mujuru stressed the need to build mentoring relationships that are based on mutual respect and trust.

“I emphasise the need to uphold the values of honesty, fairness and integrity in doing business with rural women. Please give them value for their efforts so that they too, can be economically empowered.

“Isu vemabhizimisi makuru tinogara mudhorobha tinobata pahuro kana kudzvinyidzira vekumaruwa. Kwete, ngatiisei mutengo chaiwo chaiwo (As established businesswomen let us not cheat rural women by overpricing our products or buying their wares at uneconomical prices).”

She challenged women to participate actively in the constitution-making process to ensure their concerns were included.

Any efforts to place women’s issues at the periphery would backfire.

“Issues concerning the emancipation of women should not be in small print. If we do not see them in the new constitution it will be tough luck.”

She described the constitutional reform process as the last seal to the role women played in the liberation struggle, stressing that those who went to war, like herself, did so on behalf of the rest of the women in the country.

“Don’t be subdued because you were not seen in Mozambique or Zambia. You were there because Mai Mujuru was there.”

Furthermore, VP Mujuru challenged foreign currency dealers to take advantage of multi-currency trading by engaging in legal businesses while desisting from profiteering.

“Isu semadzimai ngatichiva vanhu vanodzidzisa vaye vekunaFourth Street venge vajaira quick money. Mari yatanayo haichinje mutengo saka takuda kuti vanhu vaite mabhizimusi chaiwo,” she said, while urging women and men to partner if meaningful production was to take place.

Not much would be achieved if a significant proportion of the population was marginalised and played second fiddle.

ZWITAD’s chairperson Mrs Shupikai Mubvekeri said her organisation would support and promote capacity building in trade and development while spearheading poverty reduction and employment creation through entrepreneurship and business skills training.

The body also seeks to give Zimbabwean women a platform for their voices to be heard, particularly those in the rural areas, mining and agriculture sectors that have been marginalised the world over.

Zim’s Press free: EU

By Farirai Machivenyika
Zimbabwe Herald

INCOMING European Commissioner to Zimbabwe Mr Aldo Dell’Ariccia yesterday acknowledged the existence of a free Press in Zimbabwe and pledged to normalise strained relations during his term here.

Speaking after presenting his credentials to President Mugabe at State House, Ambassador Dell’Ariccia exp-ressed confidence that Zimbabwe-EU dialogue would achieve the desired results.

“I have been in this country for the past eight days and what I can tell you is that there is a Press that is free.

“You can read newspapers in this country and have a feeling of independent information,” he said.

On Zimbabwe-EU dialogue, Amba-ssador Dell’Ariccia said: “The aim is to achieve good relations and I think that we have to progress in a secure way.

“I am convinced that it is conceivable and achievable.”

The European Commissioner des-cribed his discussions with President Mugabe as cordial.

“It was a friendly experience and we discussed the relationship be-tween the EU and Zimbabwe and the way forward.

“My mandate here is to re-establish the relationship that exists between the EU and Zimbabwe and I am optimistic it will happen,” he said.

The EU imposed illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe citing, among other issues, the non-existence of free media and human rights abuses.

Dialogue between the two has stalled with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicating the EU is not interested in normalising ties.

The new Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Anders Liden, said he wanted relations between the two countries to improve.

“We have had a very good discussion together and he (President Mugabe) reminded me of the old times when we supported Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

“I am looking to the future to see if we can go back to the good old days,” he said.

Sweden is an EU member.

Holland’s new top envoy here, Ms Helena Joziasse, said she would work to open bilateral dialogue.

“The discussion (with President Mugabe) focused on ways to further dialogue with the people of Zimba-bwe.

“We discussed ways we can co-operate in various areas like agriculture, water management, transport and so many other fields,” she said.

A further four new ambassadors from Kenya, Malawi, Serbia and the Slovak Republic also presented their credentials to the President.

Ambassadors Ladislav Straka (Slovakia) and Goran Vujic (Serbia) pledged to strengthen ties between Zimbabwe and their respective countries.

Nairobi’s chief diplomat in Harare, Ms Josephine Awour, said she would work to resuscitate the Zimbabwe-Kenya Joint Commission.

“Kenya and Zimbabwe enjoy good relations and my job is to strengthen those cordial relations and increase trade and resuscitate the joint commission, which has been dormant for a while now,” she said.

Malawi’s Ambassador Richard Phoya said he would want Zimbabwe to assist his country in the education sector.

“The relationship between Malawi and Zimbabwe is extremely good and so I am here to make sure that relationship is maintained and uplifted.

“I want to see Zimbabwe companies operating in Malawi and Malawian companies operating in Zimbabwe.

“I also want to take advantage of your educated people and see how we can tap into their expertise,” he said.

Victoria Falls hotels booked till December

By Walter Nyamukondiwa in Chinhoyi

Most hotels at Zimbabwe’s prime tourism destination, the Victoria Falls, are fully booked until December but the country is not expected to benefit much in terms of income from the arrivals, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi has revealed.

Addressing Chinhoyi University of Technology students during a public lecture on Wednesday, Minister Mzembi said the Government and players in the tourism industry were working on mechanisms to plug loopholes that are depriving the country of revenue.

“Victoria Falls is fully booked up to December, but we have to find ways of reconciling the body count in terms of visitors and what the country gets in terms of what they (tourists) spend in the country.

“We have to find ways of getting full value for our products here,” he said.

Minister Mzembi said most of the bookings were paid for outside Zimbabwe.

The tourism industry, he said, was exploring the possibility of establishing tourism satellite accounting so that the country can harness all income.

He said his ministry was working on ways to boost tourism’s contribution to GDP from the current 4,5 percent to about 15 percent by 2015, which is marginally below the 16,1 percent of 2007.

The minister said their perception management programme was yielding positive results.

“The Brazil-Zimbabwe soccer match was the single biggest public relations exercise as it was an investment into our national identity. The attention was on Zimbabwe,” the minister noted.

The face of “Brand Zimbabwe”, he said, was President Mugabe and it was pleasing to note that the number of negative and false reports on the country and its leader had significantly dwindled.

Minister Mzembi said the United Nations World Tourism Organisation placed Zimbabwe at number 35 out of 133 countries in terms natural beauty and attractiveness but ranked the country number 121 in terms of risk.

This, he said, showed that political perceptions were “far removed from God’s perceptions” and urged the world to look at Zimbabwe for what it was and not what people claimed it was.

CUT Vice Chancellor, Professor David Simbi, said universities could play a key role in improving and managing perceptions of the country.

Minister Mzembi also said they were establishing provincial and district tourism boards that will drive tourism development through targeted marketing of tourist attractions.

Their marketing strategies will be underpinned by special emphasis on elements of the country’s war of liberation and a deliberate move to capture the country’s history before colonialism in 1890.

“When you visit other countries, they take you to places of historical significance . . . because they take pride in their history. We are driving towards that through setting up tourism boards at provincial level.”

He said this would broaden opportunities for growth in the tourism industry.

“It influences and enhances local ownership of attraction sites as the revenue will start benefiting local communities through preserving battles of significance that took place in their areas.”

He said this would also enrich future generations.

There are additional plans to establish a religious desk in the ministry as this is a major pull factor in other countries, particularly in the Middle East.

He pointed to the recent visit by American evangelist Joyce Meyer, which drew about 200 000 congregants in Harare.

Minister Mzembi said, “That visit was the single largest business attraction in recent months where statistics have put the number of people who attended at about 200 000.”

‘No regrets over land reform’

From George Maponga in Masvingo

Government does not regret embarking on the land reform programme to address historical land ownership imbalances in Zimbabwe, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa has said.

Minister Mutasa, who is Zanu-PF’s secretary for administration, said Zimbabwe was addressing scores of farmers at a South Eastern Growers Association prize-giving ceremony in Bonge Village, Zaka on Wednesday.

He said it was imperative that Zimbabweans fully used the land as that was the only way to reverse decades of colonial oppression.

The minister stressed that Government’s land reforms had transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of marginalised people.

“This land that we took from whites to give to our people is ours and we do not have any regrets about that as Government.

“The land belongs to us and it is the only birthright that we have which can be used to economically empower our people. The fruits of ownership of our land are beginning to manifest and we should continue to work hard to consolidate the gains of our land reform programme,” he said.

Minister Mutasa said Zimbabweans should not be distracted by Western propaganda.

“There are many people who shed their precious blood for us to get this land and we should fully use it. Let’s not pay attention to what some bully Western nations say because we never sought to resettle our people in America or Britain.

“We are resettling our people in Zimbabwe, which is the only home that we have,” Minister Mutasa said.

He said Zanu -PF would not stand and watch while reactionary forces colluded with erstwhile colonisers to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.

Zanu-PF secretary for production and labour, Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire, challenged Zimbabweans to develop a culture of working for themselves.

Minister Mutasa handed over Cottco-sponsored prizes to Zaka farmers who excelled in production of maize, cotton, rapoko, sesame and other crops.

The prizes included wheelbarrows, hoes, ploughs, electric generators and a grinding mill.

Earlier, Minister Mutasa toured Zaka Primary School where he planted two avocado trees before addressing schoolchildren and promised to source computers for them.

US$100m realised from cotton sales

New Ziana

OVER US$100 million has been realised from cotton sales since the start of the selling season in April, an official has said.

Cotton Ginners Association director-general Mr Godfrey Buka told New Ziana on Tuesday that seed cotton alone had earned more than US$100 million, and indications were that over 270 000 metric tonnes would be sold.

“We are expecting more deliveries and the figures will go up by the end of the selling season later this month,” he said.

Mr Buka said there were close to 500 cotton buying points serving farmers around the country.

“There are more that 500 cotton buying points across the country and this has helped in curbing side marketing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cottco managing director Mr David Machingaidze has said preparations for the next production season were at an advanced stage.

“Contractors are readying themselves for inputs distribution so that farmers are able to receive inputs on time,” he said.

He said there was potential for an increase on yield on dry-land cotton farming from about 800kg per hectare to 3 000kg.

“Farmers are likely to increase yields to high levels provided correct cultural practices in terms of crop husbandry are followed; like the appropriate application of chemicals,” said Mr Machingaidze.

If this is achieved, he said the issue of viability would have been resol- ved.

Mr Machingaidze said additional extension officers were on the ground to impart knowledge to farmers.

“Contractors should play their part by providing a complete package of inputs to farmers timeously and should honour their obligation by shunning side marketing,” he said. — New Ziana.

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