via Transcript: Mugabe outlines his vision NewZimbabwe
Remarks by President Robert Mugabe to the media after the swearing in of the new Cabinet in Harare on Wednesday 11 September 2013:
GREETINGS to you all. You have come to witness an event and the event speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself.
Yah, well people were all these days saying when is the Cabinet going to be set up? You don’t set up the Cabinet until the steps and other motions have gone through. Every member of the Cabinet except five of them or three of them had to be sworn in first, they had to become MPs, sworn in, and the swearing in took place on Tuesday. So it was only after that had happened that I was in a position to say that these now are valid peas.
They are not just people who have been elected, they are elected and now they have had the baptism of Parliament. They therefore can be looked at in terms of whether some of them can be chosen to constitute the Cabinet. So that is the exercise we had to do after people had been sworn in on Tuesday and today is Wednesday. So yesterday we set up the Cabinet and today the swearing in now which they have to do as Cabinet ministers was done.
But that is the ceremonial aspect. The political aspect is that these now are the Team that should lead Government into action along the policies that had been stipulated by the party which has won elections and from whom these derive. And programmes of Government, therefore, for the next five years will be a programme of continuing some of the work that the previous Government left undone but still requiring to be finished.
That has got to be done and therefore we would expect that our ministers will look at their portfolios, examine what the previous ministries were doing? What was accomplished and what was not accomplished? And get on with that which was accomplished, but even look at that which was accomplished and see whether it cannot become the starting point for new programmes. But I would want to say that our emphasis will not just be on continuing what was left undone but it will be on our programmes as envisaged by us and expressed by us in our manifesto.
We will need to revive some of the institutions and establishments that the previous Government left to go into oblivion or neglected and you obviously are aware we were not yet one within that Government in terms of policies and in terms of outlook and in terms of ideology and therefore things did not go well all the time.
Where, for example, we wanted assistance given to industries, to factories, companies that we rely upon for production, this was not done. In some cases what was done was very little, not adequate to enable those establishments to really be on valuable grounds and so we will look at that. We will look at the various sectors in agriculture; what is it that requires to be done, looking at the land, looking at the farmers, looking at their requirements, what assistance can be given.
The assistance is not an act of generosity; it is an act of facilitating the farmers to do business. Are there facilities which farmers can rely on using their own capacities now to do business, to be productive. The financial aspect, for example, financial system, financial institutions, and the banks, are they liquid enough? Are they also fronts, financial fronts, that are enablers to our farmers? We have to discuss this with our financial institutions.
Money must not be unnecessarily expensive. Interest rates have got to come down to levels that are affordable, but we also must ensure that the institutions are liquid enough so that they can carry out that function of lending to agriculture. We know that loans to agriculture are never long-term loans, they are short term, seasonal, and we would want to see more production of tobacco, more production of maize, soya beans, cotton, etc.
We would want to see also our livestock being taken care of and our farmers those who look after, who have livestock and depend on livestock like in Matabeleland have got to be assisted and also given direction. Extension officers must be at work giving advice, instructions as to what animals really, what breeds they need to keep at certain areas and for what purposes? We need animals for beef and for beef export. We need animals also for dairy products, milk, butter, cheese, etc. Domestic consumption, for export purposes and we should encourage the rearing of other breeds than our own and linking our breeders of such animals, exotic animals with society elsewhere so they can continue to take into account whatever new ideas are afforded them and that can help to look after those breeders in a more productive manner.
But that’s looking at agriculture as a whole and agriculture has not been suffering as much as the industrial side because we have seen at least the tobacco farmers not only increasing in number but also giving yields in terms of quality that are being praised by those who know what good tobacco is and what tobacco that is not good is like.
We need, accordingly, to look at other crops there. We have cotton, cotton was suffering, maize production suffering from the hazards, climatic hazards that visit us all the times that is drought, drought year in year out. And how do we take care of that? Well, it means we must conserve as much water as possible, building dams and after doing that have irrigation schemes, mechanisation of agriculture, it’s absolutely necessary. Conservation of water, absolutely necessary. And this has got to be done, done in an effective manner, not just, you know leaving it to a farmer here and a farmer there doing their little dams, no, we must look at our country, look at also areas where massive dams must be established, then look at those dams we have already made. Tinana Tokwe Mukorsi still building and about to be finished now. Kune mamwe atakamboita which have no irrigation schemes. We have to get irrigation schemes there otherwise why have all this water in the dam just to wait for evaporation to take place, for it to once again go into the air, into the atmosphere, no that’s it. So you have that aspect also to look after.
Are there new crops, a while ago we were talking of dry, dry, dry semi-desert areas of West Africa where now rice is being produced and exported? We are not as dry as some of those areas. And why can we not produce rice? We import rice from Thailand, other places and so on. Import substitution, export dzinozouya from that dzinozotibatsira ma exports acho to also increase our revenue.
But for industry, companies look at the companies. Bulawayo was made the industrial city tichiri vana vadiki isusu. When we grew up, Bulawayo was the talk of our city which was the industrial, where employment was available much more than other cities.
Harare was to be the administrative capital. But pakazouya Federation in 1953, December although it lasted only for 10 years December 1963 it was dead. So, but it drew now much more investment into Salisbury and Salisbury started having industrial, industrial, industrialisation on a larger scale than Bulawayo because this was also the federal capital apart being the territorial capital. And then started having skyscrapers here and none in Bulawayo. The first one was Livingstone House. Mamwe akazouya much later before you were born, I am sure. Some skyscrapers are much older than you are, shame! You should have been born much earlier, makanonokerei? Okay that’s Harare, that’s how it grew and outstripped Bulawayo. I am saying so because by the fact of my employment and fact that my father stayed in Bulawayo for 10 years and was employed there as a teacher first at Empandeni a year, then Hope Fountain outside Bulawayo, 10 miles therefrom. If you don’t know what miles are, don’t ask me I am British. (Laughter) 10 miles out of Bulawayo, I was there, and I hopped to South Africa to Fort Hare from there. So I have that Bulawayo culture in me. It was a very nice city and very beautiful. I went there when I was a bachelor and that means quite a lot (laughter). So now when I look at it, it’s like a dying city, it was vivacious, full of life, social life I didn’t know Harare until I returned from Ghana actually to join politics then I started knowing ma streets and suburbs and even the suburbs we did not know very well because the whites didn’t want you to move into the suburbs unless you were servants and were working as domestic servants for them or they would ask, the police “ini wena funa lapa?”
Anyway, Bulawayo is like a dead city now, we must enliven it. We must bring back that capacity which it had, industrial capacity it had and do much more and bring back even that employment capability which it had. So we talk about it, but this is not just because I stayed but also because it really grew into a capital not just of the industries of our industries, our industrial capital but it was also our railway capital, ndiko kwakaiswa headquarters, also you have it much closer to Botswana, much closer to South Africa, but Harare grew in faster strides and kwakazouya Soweto to keep the natives away from the closeness of the city.
Harare was getting too congested. Highfield, Chitungwiza, what did I say? Soweto oh! Oh! That was to be our Soweto and Chitungwiza and I think the population of Chitungwiza now is much more than some of the smaller cities. Smaller countries in Africa. The life there, the people couldn’t drive the whole way into the main part of the city for employment. Industrialisation could have started, we tried to do a few things there, earlier on during the first 10 years for our independence, 20 years for our independence, a few companies were established, but that was not enough, much more could have been done.
Anyway, this is our look. Enliven production, activate it, reactivate it and to do that you have to boost the productive sectors. Agriculture, in manufacturing, commerce will result from what happens from other sectors, that’s retail now, but there are tools that you need to regulate the system, where shall the companies be. Well, the main city, main town, the main areas of the city. But you can expand the commercial sector, the best way of expanding it is really first expand one which requires that you have residential areas first in certain parts of the country’s suburban parts of the city, so you avoid concentration on the city on the main part of the city and decentralise and you bring business also to those areas and employment to those areas.
Then improvement of infrastructure, communication systems have seen some start and will continue to work on what has been begun so our communication systems, these have seen some start, and we continue to work on what has been done and our communication systems have become also enablers of industrialisation or enablers of domestic life, enablers of our services, of schools, hospitals and so on.
The communications we have at the moment, you have areas where people have no telephones. Now I don’t know how much of mobile systems have helped to enhance our landed system. We have Econet; we have NetOne and Telecel. We will look at them and see how far these have developed. Some might need to be overhauled.
Roads, we have been very slow in attending to our narrow roads. Once upon a time the Rhodesians, I think they are the ones with the culture of these narrow little things, they didn’t have the money to do tarred roads. So from here to Bulawayo, you had strip roads just following where the wheels the cars would move and you tarred those strips one to the right one to the left hand side right up to Bulawayo like that. In the middle part, no tar but just strip and just imagine the strain it had on the driver, but that’s how it was before, but now we have got rid of that and when they got rid of that was to patch the middle part to tar that. And small, small roads. Just two lanes, actually in some cases just no lanes, the two lanes don’t exist, just narrow roads and the drivers must be particularly careful and the numbers of accidents had to increase.
Keep right, keep left of the road but you need bigger roads at least two lanes to the left and two to the right so those who are coming one way and you follow and there is no possibility of collision of vehicles unless someone is drunk, which can happen of course, but the police are there for those who take more than their fair share of the liquid.
But anyway some work had started in this regard and we are happy. We have friends in a number of companies who are offering to do that and we want to do all our roads and even our streets should be redone and should be kept up to standard. So our cities should have that look, attractive look, facelift that we deserve as a country of a progressive nation. Our people, of course, are the factor, the main factor. We are going to do all this.
Yes we may get investors, yes we may get experts, but it’s our people who must work for themselves in all these regards. All that I have been talking about must be done by our own people and what are they in terms of their capacity, it means education of course and we are happy at least we started well. The education institutions are there and you look at them and see whether these institutions have been kept abreast, in other words, to the things that are taught, have relevance to the lives of the people. Is it an answer to our lives, does it make us happier? Does it give us better skills than before? Open our minds much more than before? Make us healthier than before?
Our institutions, service, education and health we must attend to them. Diseases, are we educating our youngsters seriously to look after themselves as they grow up? What is the trust that we are giving to the eradication of some of the diseases that are robbing us of our young people dying that early?
What can we do to prevent that as we carry on with our education system and in its improved manner? And when these skills are given to our people, do we then enable our people to participate in industry, to participate in activities that constitute the various programmes across and along the policies that we enunciate for ourselves? Grand, grand skills, therefore, for our people, but when all is said and done we must have the resource.
I didn’t talk about the mining sector. We will have to reorganise our mines. Our main products, gold, diamond, platinum, coal, chromium, iron and ensure that some real serious work is taking place not just scratches to be taking place at the moment.
Look at Botswana; it’s just a small country, sure. Perhaps not as well developed as we are educationally, and in other respects, they have diamonds, they have coal. But their diamonds are managed only by two huge companies and both of them used to be mainly De Beers. MaJudah iwayo De Beers, kuno uku vaiva neAnglo American, vanaOppenheimer from Johannesburg ndivo vene vacho. Now they are headquartered in London. They thought of leaving Johannesburg to headquarter themselves in London. I was talking to President Khama the other day ku Malawi pataive ne Sadc meeting ikoko, the last Sadc meeting, and he was telling me kuti imi, you decided on 51 percent:49 percent ratio in Zimbabwean whether it’s Government having 51 percent foreigners 49 percent, isusu we are kuma 80 percent and tinoti De Beers can take 17, 18 percent chete. We noticed they were taking us for a ride, for a long, long time we sat down and said enough is enough and so they did that by way of taxation. When we say the investor can come nema foshoro ake, no matter how sophisticated and how large, anongova mafoshoroka chete, okucheresa wowana 49 percent.
In some cases, the old law was zvaachera ndezvake kana iye ariye akavheneka ipapo akaona kuti pane madiamods apa the claim was his, if he gets equipment and comes and digs there that is his what he gets there and what you get is pay to your workers who work there and what is charged by the Ministry of Finance through taxes chete. Ah, achitakura upfumi hwese ihwohwo? Imagine mazikomba anoiswa iwaya. What do you do to replace that part of your earth, of your world which has been taken away? Vana De Beers were kwaMarange uko tisati taziva vachitakura huge, huge soil kuno tester ku South Africa alluvial diamonds. “Tichiri kutester, tichiri kutester”, 10 years muchi tester? Zvino tazovabata ndipopavakasiya kwavakutiza vosiyira ACR timbo patakati Government must take over. So you can see the amount of cheating? No, you cannot allow that to happen, you are being deprived of wealth that belongs to you. Even matumbu enyika yenyu haadzoki kana atakurwa. You cannot manufacture rock anymore, soil anymore. And no we have said, we can’t be cheated that way. Your economics is unacceptable, the theory of economics that you preach kuti capital matters more no, our resources matter much more. You bring your capital, what is it? Mafoshoro iwayo? No matter how sophisticated, they are but still mafoshoro.
That part of digging does not make you owners of the material that you take out of our earth, matumbu enyika yedu. That is ours. To us that is fundamental. Your capital is not as, to us, important as our own wealth. What God gave us, which lies beneath, is treasurable. Is also not just our own, we who are there now, it is a possession that should be passed on as a legacy to future generations, ad infinitum, dakara Armageddon panonzi nyika yaparara. Zvino we cannot deprive those who will come many, many centuries after us of what they are entitled to by nature. Imi muchiti mauya ne capital, nekamari kenyu ikako, muchiti mauya necapital, it’s worth much more than that. Just the value when you look at it, the value of this world, this earth no matter how small that part of the world that is dug out is greater than what you might think of. Your capital is not worth more than our wealth therefore our contribution in any venture is what we have. Uko zvainzi hapana zvamuri kuisa imi, kana muchida joint venture motoisa wo capital. Kana musina tokuposhai mozodzora, ndizvo zvatakaramba izvozvo. But you see in economics it can work where together you begin a venture, you don’t have raw resources, you had to get these raw resources from somewhere, but when we have raw resources, no we refuse to accept that capital is worth much more than our fixed assets. So that is why we say 51 percent, but ipapo zvichitoera but va Khama vakanga vati kana muchida kuziva tinga tumire vedu vakomana vagouya vozotaura nemi or you can send some people to us we will discuss among ourselves and see what we can do in order to get ideas of how they have been mining all along, but anyway the principles are there. You are the owners, imi, but some of you don’t think you are complete, you think in order to be complete you need a white man next to you. Ah ini I think a white man next to me diminishes the reality of what I think I am. The totality of me. Your ownership of resources is inherent, is given you by God, if you don’t believe in God, believe in nature. You were born here, you own the soil, you own all that grows, all that lies beneath those are the things we own that is what we believe and varungu havade kunzwa izvozvo. Because if you were to go to West Africa you get to a country, Gabon and others, France was given the ownership of the oil resource kunzi ndeyenyu yese, you can mine it and sell it isu mozotipawo a percentage and vanopa 12 percent to 13 percent.
President Bashia was telling kuti we had to kick out the Americans because of that. And they got Chinese and Malaysians. Because they were giving them 15 percent thereabout, ivo votora the rest, 85 percent, that’s exploitation, that’s theft by using crookish means, using economics to steal the wealth of Africa, ah. Let’s reject that. Anyway, that’s our thinking, zvinonzi vaMugabe vanofurira vamwe. We are going to try and do our best initially and obviously will do our best, we know we should look at our people first and was talking of education and need for you to be healthy but look at us our position now. People are unemployed we have got to try and correct that and to correct it is to get into business, to get people into business.
What I was saying provides an answer, improving the industrial set-up, promoting agriculture, building infrastructure, all these avenues that can provide employment. But, of course, you need salaries. Vanhu vakamiririra masalaries, VaMugabe vakati tozokupayi salary.
It’s true we feel people have not been receiving what they are worth in public services. And we will look at that in line with what we drew in order to ensure that we organise the quick yielding sector of the country in agriculture and mining and agriculture, you have to look at which sub-sector can give us quicker returns. Mining diamonds, mining gold.