‘Empowerment key to national healing, reconciliation’

Source: ‘Empowerment key to national healing, reconciliation’ | The Herald June 3, 2016

Prosper Ndlovu Bulawayo Bureau
Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko says economic empowerment of ordinary Zimbabweans is a vital component in the attainment of genuine national healing and reconciliation.

Speaking while engaging villagers in the Gwayi area of Matabeleland North on Wednesday when he toured the Gwayi-Shangani Dam site, Acting President Mphoko, who also heads the Ministry of National Healing and Reconciliation, directed companies operating in the province to employ locals and to desist from “importing” labour.

“Everybody must be empowered in this country and that is how we can solve conflicts and reconcile our people.

“Companies should consider local people first when employing personnel for national projects. Unless if it’s an area that needs technical expertise, otherwise all general work and other menial tasks should be given to locals,” he said.

He was responding to a concern raised by one villager that the contractor in charge of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project was sidelining locals in the recruitment of workers.

“Baba (father), here at Mabale area we are desperate for employment and want to be employed when national projects are done. Instead we see people coming from the eastern parts of the country to get jobs ahead of us in our area,” said the villager.

Matabeleland North has of late become a prime investment province given its vast natural resource base.

In the past few years, a number of companies have embarked on projects in coal mining, electricity, gas and processing industries running into millions of dollars, creating more job opportunities.

The Government is already spearheading economic empowerment through the indigenisation drive, which is strongly anchored on the fruitful utilisation of natural resources.

The country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, also emphasises empowerment issues.

Acting President Mphoko challenged ministries and Government departments to ensure community involvement in development and ensure their full participation in national projects.

“You’re aware that I’m also the Minister of National Healing and Reconciliation. Make sure that next time we come here there are no complaints of this nature,” said VP Mphoko.

“Our Government offices are there to deal with such issues but the problem is that you (villagers) are afraid to approach your leaders and tell them your problems.”

The villagers also requested that Government facilitates a shareholding arrangement for them to have a stake in all the companies that operate in their area.

Some sought engagement with the contractor to assist them in the quarry stone project for a number of construction projects in the surrounding districts.

The Acting President assured the Gwayi community that Government would expedite the completion of the dam project, which would open more economic opportunities for them.

“As the Government we want this dam to be completed soon and we’ll look for the required money. So don’t lose hope, your Zanu-PF Government is there and I can assure you this will be achieved.

“Water is life and this project will give you success in farming and livestock. It’s a must that this project be completed.”


  • comment-avatar
    St.John Netscher 6 years ago

    I am sorry, as a UK resident i wonder how many Zimbabweans see their countries wealth driving up and down the motorways of England, and how those few employees in Zimbabwe House and in other fields around the UK can not see what has sprung up opposite that embassy. I put it to anyone with half a mind to question themselves, how could a country that fed the world and was considered the “bread basket of Africa” is now left in such a condition ?, while the street opposite that great building is overflowing with fast food venues, is someone taking the proverbial ? I find it strange that the UK whistleblowing website states ” UK Governments will not and does not raise funds for political parties from Zimbabwe”. Well this must be the worst kept secret in the world. Would any African of any standing not see the injustice i see around me when i travel around the United Kingdom. I want the job as Zimbabwe ambassador, I wont spoil Africans with Ferrero Roches.

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    ntaba 6 years ago

    I wonder what this VP smokes? Binga best?

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    Local employment is a good idea. Gukurahundi was perpetrated by those from the Shona speaking regions. It’s not proper for the same people to get menial jobs in Ndebele speaking areas. The technicians and engineers should also be biased towards locals. It’s not as though the grand plan left the region with no skills. It may have affected numbers but there are enough skilled personnel to run projects in our areas. For once VP Mphoko is right, though totally wrong on gukurahundi. Gukurahundi needs truth telling by those involved. Denials are a time bomb which is waiting to explode. Avoiding discussions about gukurahundi is not a solution to tribal tensions in this country created by Europeans in the scramble for Africa in the 1880s.

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    mandevu 6 years ago

    Oh come on Mpoko. You know as well as the rest of us that the only way forward is to change the government