Elita Chikwati, Harare Bureau
Zimbabweans should use their education to solve challenges bedevilling the country and use local expertise to manufacture goods instead of importing.
The country should add value to local resources and export finished goods to increase income and boost foreign currency earnings.
In an interview ahead of the commemorations of the Heroes’ Day on Monday and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day on Tuesday, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said Zimbabwe had all the required resources for production such as land, educated people and peace. So Zimbabweans should unite and solve their own challenges.
“We are very happy that Zimbabwean people have matured from the time we got our independence. We have successfully resettled our people, which was the main reason for going to war. This is great success to the people of Zimbabwe.
“The people should support President Mnangagwa who is calling for increased production. We do have land in our hands, the indigenous hands. With the support that he is rendering in terms of the recovery plan in agriculture, we cannot be importing food.
“We need to be self-sufficient and by so doing, we are able to create jobs in the process,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri encouraged people to increase production and venture in value addition to increase earnings from their products. By adding value, the country would be able to manufacture enough for local consumption and also for export and generate the much-needed foreign currency, which is required to import technology.
“Our educational system now, as you were witnessing these days, is engaging in research. We cannot import tractors when we are number one in education in Africa. Our education should be targeted so that we learn to solve our own problems through resources such as rich mineral wealth.
“The President’s vision is to have a middle income economy by 2030. Through mining, we should be able to develop our own technologies as Zimbabweans since we do not have the foreign currency.
“We need to mine and value-add so that we do not export raw materials and in the process, we create jobs,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri urged the nation to unite as no-one else would come to solve the Zimbabwean problems besides the people themselves.
“Nobody can solve our problems as Zimbabweans. Some people paid the supreme sacrifice to liberate this country. It is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that whatever objective, those gallant sons and daughters who lie in those graves in our neighbouring countries and here in Zimbabwe, we should not let them down. They should not have died in vain.
“We should carry forward their agenda realising that no one will develop this country unless we commit ourselves as Zimbabweans.
“We have peace and the environment is conducive. It did not come on a silver platter. We needed to pay a sacrifice. It took other countries like China years to develop. It requires patience. We need to appreciate that this is the only country that we have and we need to guard jealously our independence and use whatever we have to develop ourselves otherwise our gallant sons would have died in vain,” she said.
The 2020 Heroes Day Commemorations will be held on Monday under the theme “Remembering Our Heroes” while the Defence Forces Day Celebrations will be held on Tuesday under the theme “ZDF: Celebrating 40 years of Excellent Service to the People”.
This year there will be no gatherings to mark either event. President Mnangagwa will address the nation using virtual platforms.
The virtual celebrations will take place over a period of two weeks and by covered by ZBC-TV, which will feature the Zimbabwe Defence Force’s exploits, community assistance projects and the Defence Forces Medical Outreach Programme.