Bulawayo opposition legislator Nicola Jane Watson said she was not impressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address as it did not provide any solutions especially to problems facing the second city.
She said the address was full of rhetoric and no action against scourges like corruption.
Contributing to the debate on the President’s speech, Watson said: “It is my humble submission Hon. Speaker, that although my colleagues who have spoken before me from the other side of this House have praised the speech and have praised what they see as progress, I believe that we are sadly lacking still in terms of economy and development. I do not believe that what was in the SONA offers Zimbabweans or Zimbabwe the solution.
“If we look at Bulawayo yet again and we look at the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, although the dam is 70% complete, the pipeline which will take the most desperately needed water to Bulawayo plus the pump stations, is yet to even be commenced so that on the one hand we say that is development yet on the other hand, the lack is still there. So I personally feel, and on behalf of my constituency, that we are still lacking deeply in Zimbabwe.”
HON. WATSON: Thank you Hon. Speaker for this opportunity to debate the Address to Parliament by the President during SONA. In his speech, the President said foreign currency earnings amounted to USD7.7 billion for the eight months to the 31st August, 2022; an increase of 32.4% of the same period in the previous year. On checking, I found that this relates purely to mineral exports. Zimbabwe is a rich country with minerals yet poor and unable to provide free education for its children and to provide even the most basic medications in its healthcare facilities.
Zimbabwe reals under corruption and Zimbabwe’s wealth will never be shared with its population that benefited. There was nothing particularly in the SONA speech which spoke to dealing with issues around corruption.
The President spoke about universal health coverage. Our health system is totally underfunded to the extent that per capita spending on health has gone down from USD90 to USD48 per person, which is a huge drop in per capita spending and as a consequence, although clinics have been built, hospitals refurbished to an extent, there are no medicines and there is insufficient medical staff to cater for the needs of Zimbabweans.
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