Media, telecommunications, retail and real estate mogul, Dr James Makamba, has praised the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa led government for championing robust developmental policies and projects aimed at bettering livelihoods.
Speaking in a wide ranging interview, Makamba gave out that the Second Republic had done well in crafting Vision 2030 and embarking on National Development Strategy One (NDS1). “Mnangagwa is a visionary, and by underpinning Zimbabwe’s economic prospects on mining, agriculture, tourism and telecommunications, Vision 2030 is attainable”, said Makamba.
Vision 2030 seeks to turn Zimbabwe into an upper middle-class economy by 2030.
According to Makamba, while Vision 2030 expressed broader issues, Mnangagwa was doing very well in providing local solutions to local challenges. In particular, Makamba mentioned Karanda Bridge in Mt Darwin District, Mashonaland Province, which Mnangagwa officially opened recently.
When Mnangagwa opened the bridge, the event attracted the ire of Zimbabweans on Twitter, who criticized the president for wasting time officiating low-value and low-quality projects.
However, Makamba gave out that the Second Republic had excellently conducted the official opening of the 180 meters Karanda Bridge to launch Government’s Emergency Road Rehabilitation Program 2(ERRP2). “Critically too, Government had fulfilled the wishes of locals residing in the area, by providing a much needed bridge, massively reducing the distance from Bindura to Mt Darwin using Rushinga Road,” Makamba observed.
Turning to Government’s much touted devolution programme, Makamba gave out that the Second Republic was promoting effective and efficient exploitation of local resources for the benefit of locals. “Take my home province, Mashonaland Central Province, for example, now the local people have a significant, direct say in how their mining, agriculture and touristic natural resources can be exploited and profits used.”
Makamba, however, cautioned that devolution will also entail ensuring that the proposed Provincial Councils are filled with persons who possess the requisite business acumen and grounding in economics. He added, “At his inauguration, Mnangagwa preached that Economics is the new Politics. As such, future development as per Vision 2030, will depend on a culture to pursue economic development.” Central Government would then provide oversight.
Mashonaland Central Province has some of the most fertile agrarian land and is home to some of the most expansive mineral deposits.
Asked what role he envisioned for himself going forward, Makamba, who is a former legislator and Local Authority Board Chairperson, stated that he came back in 2017 as a response to Mnangagwa’s call for all Zimbabweans in the diaspora to come back home to help develop Zimbabwe. “I believe in President Mnangwagwa’s vision for Zimbabwe. Any right thinking Zimbabwean should deploy skills and personal resources to help revive Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes”.
He furthered, “Just like in the liberation struggle, we need to suspend personal interest, work together and contribute positively to the future of our Zimbabwe.”
Responding to media speculation that he is eyeing the ZANU PF Mashonaland Central Provincial Chairmanship post, Makamba curtly retorted, “I am happy you call it speculation, because it remains that. I am a ZANU PF member and stand guided by party principles on that. As of now, there is no vacancy, and the party leadership has not expressed itself on that matter. Right now the party is focused on restructuring and recruiting new members. That is, rightly, the focus.”
“I came back to Zimbabwe to play a meaningful role in development and business, to revive my business empire. Political office is assigned by the party leadership and the grassroots, as and when vacancies occur. That is the core of servant-leadership.”
Added Makamba, “I am a son of the Province. I was born and bred here. This is the land that gave me life, nurtured me, fed me and to date, shelters me. The least I can do is to work, in my small way, to give back to it.”
Meanwhile, Makamba is rehabilitating his “Blue Ridge” chain of supermarkets, which in the past employed over three hundred people, mostly from Mashonaland Central Province.
“We are happy with the Government’s efforts to give back our empire so that we can start operating. We want to revamp Blue Ridge to ensure it comes back to its glorious days. We want to create employment for the people in Mashonaland Central and Zimbabwe at large. The people will enjoy the best while passing through the complex.”
He, nevertheless, noted that Covid19 related lockdown had slowed down rehabilitation efforts.
As a parting short, Makamba emphasised that Zimbabwe’s economic wellbeing rested with ZANU PF, as did war of liberation. He declared, “My ambition has always been to work in a coordinated way with others, to uplift our communities;and as with the war of liberation, our party, ZANU PF, is pivotal to that.”