Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Western mining experts hid exploration maps on Zimbabwe’s mineral resource base during the colonial era, but the country is slowly discovering its worth in terms of underground wealth, First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe has said.
It is believed that the whites undertook massive exploration works in Zimbabwe before independence, but never made public their findings. The move was deliberate to ensure that after independence, the new State would not know its value in terms of minerals. Addressing investors of African origin based in the United Kingdom at her Mazowe Children’s Home on Tuesday, Dr Mugabe said Zimbabwe was endowed with vast resources and God was already revealing some of the hidden wealth.
“You can actually mention any of the minerals Zimbabwe has that mineral. Even some people believe that we have oil somewhere. Yes some people know. Our erstwhile colonisers had maps and they hid some of the information from us but we are getting to know bit by bit. God is revealing that this is yours use it,” she said.
In furtherance of the quest to establish the country’s worth in terms of mineral value, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa in his 2015 National Budget presentation said Government had proposed to set aside $3 million towards exploration activities. Minister Chinamasa said Government had already acknowledged the need to set up of an exploration firm because the country was not fully knowledgeable about the extent of the value of its mineral resource base.
He said this inevitably resulted in poorly negotiated contracts, potentially prejudicing the benefits accruing to the State and its citizens. As such the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development resolved to set up the Minerals Exploration Promotion Corporation to solely deal with exploration activities.
Apart from the vast mineral resources, Dr Mugabe said after independence President Mugabe resolved that political freedom was not enough without economic control. Dr Mugabe said the President pioneered empowerment programmes for the nation. As part of the empowerment drive, President Mugabe championed programmes such as the Land Reform Programme and indigenisation that had empowered the previously marginalised black majority.
“We of course went to war, fought the struggle, won it but our President went further to say that yes we fought for independence but independence alone is not enough. When we went out to the struggle we slept in the bush, we were being bitten by mosquitoes and lots of lives were lost. They were not lost just to say we are free, freedom alone is not enough unless we have economic freedom.”