During the launch in Marondera, AAG vowed to play a role in the resuscitation of Arcturus Gold Mine in Goromonzi and the Cold Storage Company (CSC) depot in Marondera, among others.
Our Style reporter Jairos Saunyama (JS) interviewed AAG provincial vice-chairperson (operations) Lincoln Matare (LM) on the sidelines of the launch event and below are the excerpts:
JS: Now that the AAG provincial chapter has been launched, what is next?
LM: We are now moving on to identify key or important areas, which will help in boosting our economy as well as empowerment of people here in the province. We are in support of government’s economic policies, that is National Development Strategy 1 as well as Vision 2030 where Zimbabwe is set to be a middle upper income economy.
JS: Does this mean that you are Zanu PF-affiliated?
LM: AAG is on record saying that we are apolitical. We are, however, supporting the existing government because of its smart policies that are accommodating both foreign and local investors.
The investors have massive confidence in our government, and this is evidenced by the current infrastructure development in this country as well as massive establishments of companies.
It is our duty as the people of Zimbabwe to support such policies for the better of every citizen.
JS: You spoke on taking part in the resuscitation of CSC in the province, how are you going to do that?
LM: This province has an enough herd to sustain the Cold Storage Commission, we have the best abattoir or just the infrastructure.
We need to see what best can be done to utilise such infrastructure that is currently lying idle.
We will take part in luring investors and we are going to achieve that. Sometime back, CSC was being used as a school, which is not good.
In this new dispensation, we are focusing on more production and empowerment of the locals. We are also lobbying that whoever takes over CSC should be involved into value addition, that is, we will be having canned meat from this province. It is possible.
JS: And on the issue of idle mines?
LM: We are also going to get a database of all idle mines. For example, Arcturus Mine in Goromonzi is lying idle. The nation is losing a lot of money. We have politicians who have idle mining claims, we are going to fight that.
Those who own mines should utilise them. For example, if you go to Makaha in Mudzi we have gold claims that are idle and the owners are sleeping somewhere, we are encouraging those owners to utilise the mines for the development of the country.
Moreover, we have those who have farms that are underutilised. There is someone with a 100-hectare piece of land and he or she is only utilising just 10ha. We are saying the remaining 90ha should be given to those who are able to produce for the benefit of this nation.
We had the land reform programme in 2000, but we are still importing maize — that is bad.
The government is supporting the farmers through schemes like Operation Maguta, Command Agriculture, pfumvudza, hence the question: Where is our problem? Is it the farmers?
As AAG, we are not going to leave no stone unturned until we achieve Vision 2030.
JS: Do you think the achievement of Vision 2030 is on course and why do you say so?
LM: We are happy with the current economic policies of our government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. It is unlike the old dispensation whose policies scared away potential investors, eg, the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, the 49/51% sharing of companies and other entities.
The new dispensation is doing well as seen in infrastructure development as well as the influx of foreign investors into the country.
The pfumvudza conservation agriculture concept worked wonders, just to mention a few. As AAG, we will work with government to unearth more empowerment and economic opportunities. In short, Vision 2030 is achievable at all costs.
We aware that in every course there are saboteurs, but we remain focused towards achieving for a better Zimbabwe.
JS: How did you choose the current provincial executive?
LM: The executive is made up of corruption-free individuals some of whom own businesses in and around the province. These individuals have a great understanding of what Vision 2030 means and demands.
JS: You were spotted at an apostolic sect shrine in Chitungwiza some months back. Why do you target such groups?
LM: We are approaching all churches, not only the apostolic sects. We are selling the idea of empowerment to every person.
We took the opportunity to explain to the people on what government is doing to grow the economy as well as the achievements made so far.
We are also going to move around tertiary education campuses once Covid-19 is over, so that we sell the idea of Vision 2030 and other economic policies to young people.
JS: Are you working with the devolution minister on such programmes you are about to venture into?
LM: We are engaging minister (Applonia) Munzverengwi in everything that we are doing. We are also happy that she is hands-on as far as development issues are concerned.
This can be seen in the massive implementation of projects in the province, some of which have since been commissioned by the president.