BY KENNETH NYANGANI/TAFADZWA KACHIKO
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said he no longer enjoyed public life because he was always surrounded by more than 100 security personnel.
Addressing businesspeople at the official opening of the Highlands Park Shopping Mall in Highlands, Harare, constructed by Telecel Africa, Mnangagwa said: “I have not been in a village walk or to take a walk for some time because I am surrounded by over 100 security details.
“I don’t know even how to use a swipe card. I even sent my nephew to swipe for me and he had to ask me to give him my PIN code,” he said.
The shopping mall has retail shops and medical centres, among other entities.
Security was visibly tight at park, as well as in surrounding areas such as Newlands.
Mnangagwa addressed another crowd in Manyame, after commissioning the Mount Meru Millers Zimbabwe edible oil refinery plant.
The business event turned into a rally as bussed Zanu PF supporters and students from Mashonaland East province were bussed to the venue chanting party slogans.
Residents said Zanu PF councillors had ordered them to attend the event, saying they were targeting a crowd of 20 000 people.
Addressing the crowd, Mnangagwa narrated what he described as achievements by his government in Mashonaland East, urging villagers to ensure they vote for the ruling Zanu PF party in next year’s polls.
“I am honoured to be back here in Mashonaland East to officially commission the Edible Oil Refinery Plant valued at US$20 million. Today’s visit follows the recent commissioning of the Central Registry e-passport office in Murehwa, as well as Radnor Mine in Mukuya, Mudzi district. To date, other notable projects have been completed under the second republic such as Muchekeranwa Dam, Mutoko Royal Fruit and Vegetables Processing Plant, along with road, health and education infrastructure across the various districts of the country,” Mnangagwa said.
“This factory will grow and when it grows it will be employing over 1000 people. Those of you from this area will get jobs and get satisfied. You no longer need to go to Harare for jobs. The company makes cooking oil which we usually get from outside. We want you to grow sunflower, cotton and soya beans. That is what is needed here. When we distribute inputs under Pfumvudza, I will make sure that we have a fund for those crops.”
Mnangagwa said the new plant would produce 250 tonnes of edible soya oil per day and help increase the supply of edible oils in the local market, thereby supporting the Buy Zimbabwe campaign.
“The by-products of edible oil production such as soya meal, cotton meal and sunflower meal are used in the production of stock feed, soya milk, textured vegetable protein products, cosmetics and health supplements among others. There will be cosmetics to apply on the skin. Women can use them to enhance their beauty,” he said.
Mnangagwa said he had convinced the Mount Meru Millers Group president Atul Mittal to come and invest in Zimbabwe at a business Forum in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.
“There were a lot of white people. I spoke with them and in my mind I was saying, ‘can they hear (understand me)?’ They were just quiet. One man (Mittal) then said to me, ‘what you said impressed me and I want to pay you a visit’. He then came and said as a family they have many businesses in 14 countries. I said to him we have a policy of establishing factories in rural areas. He came at the beginning of this year in Chief Seke’s area. Aaah, I had forgotten to greet chiefs, how are you,” he said, while encouraging more investors to come to Zimbabwe.
Mittal said his company is committed to supporting the Manyame Rural District Council and its people. He pledged to feed pupils in the surrounding schools.
“We are currently working at 3% production capacity, but we are hoping to reach 30%. As a group we are proud and we will make sure that every child at school in this district will get a meal daily,” Mittal said.