Policy Implementation Minister Webster Shamu has called on Zimbabweans to think beyond party politics to save the country from extinction.
Addressing hundreds of delegates attending a breakfast meeting organised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls at the weekend, Shamu said Zimbabweans had to accept that the country was facing an economic decline. As such they needed to work together to look for solutions to the crisis.
He said Zimbabweans should emulate central bank governor Gideon Gono whose breakfast meetings included all players regardless of their political, religious or other affiliations.
“Party politics should end at the elections,” Shamu said. “After the elections we must speak with one voice because we are one people with one country and one common destiny.
“We must therefore think beyond party politics because if we continue to play party politics we face extinction,” he said.
Shamu was addressing chiefs, captains of industry and representatives of both ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change from Matabeleland North province who had gathered at the tourist resort for a one-on-one discussion about the country’s turnaround programme.
This was Gono’s ninth breakfast meeting. His nationwide tour has already taken him to nine provinces with only Mashonaland Central remaining.
Gono, who said it was time to launch Operation Taurai Chokwadi (Tell the Truth), lamented the poor performance by the province, which on paper was an economic powerhouse.
He said Matabeleland North had the potential to be the pivot of the country’s turnaround programme but the people of the province had chosen to marginalise themselves.
It had the largest power station in the county, generating 60 percent of the country’s power.
It had vast coal reserves with a lifespan of more than 5 000 years.
It had untapped methane gas reserves that could be used to generate electricity and to manufacture fertiliser, saving the country between US$600 million and US$700 million in foreign currency.
It also had abundant wildlife and one of the world’s best known tourist resorts, the Victoria Falls.
“The only two things we are sitting on are our reserves and our brains,” he said, echoing Hwange Colliery managing director Godfrey Dzinonwa who had concluded his briefing on the colliery with those remarks the previous day.
Gono said the people of Matabeleland had to wake up from their slumber because they should not expect to be bailed out by other provinces.
He said the province had generated only US$2 million in foreign currency the previous year, yet it consumed about US$18 million a month in fuel alone.
This year, its performance was better at US$6 million but all the foreign currency had been earned by Hwange Colliery Company, yet Victoria Falls accounted for 20 percent of tourist arrivals in the country.