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Even Lord Malvern failed to deliver water to Bulawayo

28 Feb 2021 at 08:42hrs | Views
IN the old days, there was a special group of people called the Pharisees that did not particularly impress Jesus Christ.

They were known for obsessively exhorting followers to be unstinting sticklers for the law, even though they did not hold themselves to the same rules.

It was a sickening exceptionalism that ultimately affected their reputation and standing.

They talked the talk, but did not walk the talk.

In Matthew 23:2-4, Jesus told us how to deal with such kinds of people.

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."

However, in Zimbabwe, these species manifest as hypocrites and cynics.

Instead of doing everything they tell you, you should actually do what they do, and not what they say, for they practice the very same things they tell you not to do.

Well, after the blatantly xenophobic brouhaha over China's Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine - which the country had gratefully and graciously received from Beijing as a donation - those who were leading the Sinophobic chorus unashamedly tiptoed to the front of the queue to get the life-saving jabs. Kikikikiki.

Even as their followers wallowed in unnecessary and contrived doubt over the safety of the donated vaccines, they rushed with unbelievable haste to jump the queue.

What they say is just for public political posturing.

It is as mischievous as it is unfortunate.

Moving mountains

If you were a blind follower of these sceptics, you would have thought that a thoroughly inept administration in Harare was not only bereft of a vaccination rollout plan, but was clueless on how to navigate its way out of the current health crisis.

Well, on February 18, when the rollout programme began, Zimbabwe became one of the eight African countries - including South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Rwanda, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco - to have accomplished the historic feat of charting a sustainable and irreversible path out of this very dark period for mankind.

To put this into perspective, a country as rich as Hong Kong had not yet begun its own mass inoculation exercise by the end of last week.

While the donation of 400 000 vaccine doses is largely a result of the magnanimity of the Chinese government, it must not be forgotten that when ED made his first visit to China as President between April 2 and April 6, 2018, diplomatic relations between the two countries were elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for Co-operation, which is regarded as the highest level of bilateral relations.

China could have simply donated the vaccines to any of the 195 countries around the world.

Ordinarily, the country's extraordinary coronavirus response strategy ought to make Zimbabweans proud, but in a toxic environment where people are taught to self-loathe, this is hardly the case.

Where the country makes progress, it has become fashionable to look the other way and pretend that it doesn't exist.

But this does not change anything - progress remains progress, whatever the circumstances, and those who benefit from it are the ones that appreciate it the most.

Triumphing against seemingly insurmountable odds has been the hallmark of ED's administration since he took over.

In a little more than two years since assuming the reins as the country's second Executive President after independence, he has moved mountains.

At a time when Zimbabwe is not getting any financial support, he has managed to complete the construction of two key dams - Marovanyati in Buhera and Causeway in Marondera - which are set to materially change the lives of surrounding communities and even beyond.

In fact, Marovanyati was commissioned just 907 days after the promise made by the President while electioneering in Manicaland on May 19, 2018.

In addition to delivering potable water to both urban and rural communities, these new water bodies will help put more land under irrigation and facilitate empowering economic projects to improve livelihoods.

Perhaps the major highlight of the incredible work that has been done by the new administration in the past couple of years is the breathtaking progress on the iconic Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), which was conceived about 110 years ago (1912).

Ignoramuses might not easily appreciate this if they do not understand the history of the project.

Successive colonial governments, including post-Independence administrations, failed to make any meaningful progress.

But now, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam - expected to be the third-largest inland water body after Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Kyle, and a key cog of the whole project - is now expected to be completed by year-end, while construction of the 245-kilometre pipeline to convey water from the dam to Bulawayo officially began on Thursday.

To those of little imagination, constructing a dam is not like digging a well (kuchera tsime or mufuku) or drilling a borehole.

It is both back-breaking work and capital-intensive.

A country that is perceived to be broke cannot conceivably be able to undertake it.

The colonialists, despite having an embarrassment of riches from looted resources, professed they were too broke to implement the MZWP.

Initially, the cost was estimated at £6 000 (which was the currency then), before it ballooned to £60 000 by the 1930s during Prime Minister Godfrey Huggins' (better known as Lord Malvern) reign, who considered the project unsustainable.

Lord Malvern akazvitadzawo. Kikikiki.

So, it just remained a pipe dream.

However, all things being equal, within the next two years, the project is set to become reality without a dime from international financiers.

Instead, it is Treasury that has committed more than $5 billion from internally generated resources to ensure it gains real traction. And the bulk of this money being sunk into the project is likely to circulate locally as firms from within Zimbabwe are the ones being contracted to do most of the work.

The economic benefits derived from this model are simply mind-blowing.

Not many fully appreciate the potential for uninterrupted water supplies to re-industrialise Bulawayo, a city that used to be called "kontuthu ziyathunqa" (rising smoke) for the sheer amount of smoke that issued from its ever-busy industries.

By the way, water rationing in Bulawayo dates back to as far as 1938.

But, if the country can accomplish such progress while still encumbered by debilitating sanctions, one can only imagine what would have been possible had the country been freed to realise its full potential.

It is similar to the progress that has been made on the Harare-Beitridge Highway.

After a decade of inexplicable inertia, ED did what he knows best - action.

Considerable lengths of the highway have now been rehabilitated.

All this is only possible because of prudent fiscal management, which has enabled the Government to generate the wherewithal to sponsor critical national projects.

Contrary to the misleading narrative from sceptics that the economy is in free-fall, economic indicators are showing otherwise.

Over the past three years, exports have been progressively rising, from US$3,5 billion in 2017 to US$4 billion in 2018.

In 2019, shipments rose to US$4,3 million before growing by a further US$100 million to US$4,4 billion last year.

Agricultural output is set to markedly grow this year and spur economic activities and growth.

Considering that more than US$800 million is spent every year importing agricultural produce that we could ordinarily be producing ourselves, can you even imagine the cost savings that would be made from a successful farming season?

But the Government is not letting up on its plans to switch from rain-fed agriculture and continues to double down on investments to increase production and productivity.

For example, by last week, Maka Irrigation had set up a 24-hectare irrigation system at Nyamutsahuni Irrigation Scheme in Mutoko, Mashonaland East.

You might remember that in September 2019, the Government engaged the company to resuscitate irrigation schemes across the country. It was actually tasked with developing 100 000ha in the next three years.

Again, this is part of ED's materialising grand plan of putting more than 350 000ha under irrigation to guarantee food security, particularly in the wake of climate change.

The sheer scope and scale of projects happening around the country is immense.

Sand castles in the air

It is, therefore, not surprising that the industrial behemoth Old Mutual is already seeing signs of growth.

However, naysayers who are incorrigibly pessimistic and hyper-critical are busy creating an imagined reality of a country that is in crisis.

They are living in a parallel universe of a willed by elusive political reality.

The political message that they intend to sell to the public is the perceived failure of the ZANU-PF Government.

They are busy building sand castles in the air for themselves.

Bishop Lazi would like to encourage them to wake up and smell the coffee.

Reality is a bitter medicine that they would necessarily need to swallow.

Zimbabwe is rising.

Bishop out!!!

Source - sundaymail
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