At 44, Zim is ahead of its peers

THis country, which marks its 44th Uhuru in nine days, has a lot to celebrate after experiencing social and economic transformation, putting itself ahead of its regional peers that achieved their independence much earlier, former Mozambican leader, President Joaquim Chissano said.

He said Zimbabwe lost almost everything that creates sustenance to a country during colonialism, including land, but waged a liberation war that saw it attaining independence on April 18, 1980, before it embarked on a revolution that now makes it a prosperous country riding on its natural resources.

President Chissano said this at State House yesterday where he had paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa to discuss political and economic issues.

The former Head of State and Government for Mozambique is a high level facilitator of the Arrears Clearance, Debt Relief and Restructuring Strategy for Zimbabwe, with African Development Bank president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina as the champion of the process.

Commenting on the forthcoming independence celebrations for Zimbabwe, set to be commemorated at Murambinda Growth Point in Buhera district, Manicaland province, President Chissano said Zimbabwe has so much to celebrate.

“I think Zimbabwe has many reasons to celebrate because its independence was not given (on a silver platter), it was achieved through sacrifice. The people of Zimbabwe were left with nothing in their hands because the colonialist and racist regime had taken everything, from land and other wealth of the people here. They fought, and today we see a Zimbabwe which has grown, sometimes more than countries that got independence many years before, including Mozambique. They are likely to be behind Zimbabwe, achievements here are remarkable,” said President Chissano who was flanked by President Mnangagwa.

“You have food security, infrastructure, your mining industry is one of the best in the region and so on. You are still living with the shackles of the regime which preceded you, the minority regime, which created problems which you have to solve,” he said.

President Chissano said those who might criticise him for saying this did not know that several lives of Zimbabweans were lost in Mozambique at the hands of a racist British regime in places like Chimoio, Tembwe and Nyadzonia, among others, where mass graves have since been turned into monuments.

“When I speak like this, people will say no you are speaking nonsense, you have nothing to do. People have a tendency, including the media, to forget what happened. One of the difficulties that were created by the apartheid and racist regime is that we have graves in Mozambique, we have monuments. We do not regret, we celebrate. We celebrate because the result was positive, those people died for a prosperous Zimbabwe, and this is what Zimbabwe is, a prosperous Zimbabwe,” he said.

President Chissano said they discussed several issues with President Mnangagwa yesterday given that the two comrades shared trenches during the liberation struggle, forging a strong bond between them.

 “We talked about a lot of things, how is Zimbabwe, how have the hurricane created problems here, how is the economy going, how is the political situation, so we were having a dialogue like this, for me to be better educated on the situation in Zimbabwe as I am playing the role of a facilitator of high level dialogue with partners,” he said.

“So I have to be always abreast about the thinking of the President, the thinking of the people here in Zimbabwe and so on and the problems which might be here. Our dialogue has two parts, one is governance, and the other one is the economic part. So the President briefed me very well about the situation.”

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said they had a dialogue ahead of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund spring meetings in Washington next week.

“This is a continuous engagement around the debt arrears dialogue process. It is in motion. Our technical teams have been meeting to discuss economic issues. One of the issues, for instance, is around currency reforms, the introduction of ZiG currency as a new currency is also part of that dialogue. The action we have taken in taking over liabilities of the central bank so that they are centralised within Government through Treasury, the issue of compensation for white former commercial farmers, all those are issues on the table in terms of dialogue,” said Prof Ncube.

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