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Zimbabwe: Zim Makes Strides in the Shadow of Covid-19 Pandemic

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Senior Reporter

The year 2020 will be remembered for the Covid-19 outbreak that changed the dynamics of people’s livelihoods across the globe with every activity coming to near standstill as countries grappled to control the spread of the pandemic.

The year however, began on a positive note for the country with the hosting of the Sixth Session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Victoria Falls.

The forum was organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) and provided an opportunity to craft an African position that was presented at the UN’s High Level Political Forum for SDGs in held virtually in July.

As Covid-19 continued to spread globally, Zimbabwe was not spared from the effects of the pandemic with President Mnangagwa announcing a 21-day total lockdown of the country on March 30.

The lockdown entailed restrictions on movement of people, convening of gatherings be it for weddings, funerals, political rallies and entertainment among others.

Chaos in the opposition ranks

At the beginning of April embattled MDC -Alliance, Mr Nelson Chamisa’s ascendancy to the presidency of the party was declared illegal by the Supreme Court Judge, Justice Bharat Patel.

Mr Chamisa had wrestled leadership of the party following the death of founding President Morgan Tsvangirai on February 14, 2018.

The ruling came after Mr Chamisa had appealed against the ruling by High Court judge, Justice Mushore which nullified his presidency, in 2018. The judgment nullified Mr Chamisa’s appointment as the leader of the opposition MDC party and also nullified the appointment of both Mr Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri as vice presidents of the party.

The appointments were made by Mr Tsvangirai in 2014.

Justice Patel observed that Dr Thokozani Khupe was the genuine acting president of the party at the time of Tsvangirai’s death, and restored the status quo. Following the ruling Dr Khupe recalled at least 30 legislators from Parliament and dozens of councillors across the country for refusing to acknowledge her authority.

Some of the seats are still vacant following the suspension of by-elections due to restrictions imposed to curb Covid-19 while those for proportional representation have been filled with Dr Khupe becoming the official leader of the opposition in Parliament.

Deaths of National Heroes

A number of National Heroes also died this year and these include former Zanu-PF Politburo member and veteran of the liberation struggle Cde Absolom Sikhosana who died on May 15, Cde Stanley Nleya who died on June 16, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister and Chief Air Marshall (Retired) Perrance Shiri who died on July 29, Brigadiers-General Ruphus Chigudu who died on September 24 and Sambulo Ndlovu who died on October.

Development Agenda

Government’s development agenda continued in 2021 with President Mnangagwa commissioning or ground-breaking various programmes and projects across the country.

Some of these projects include the opening of the first 32,2 km stretch of Harare-Beitbridge highway in August.

The first 100km of the 583,2 km highway have been completed.

The President also opened Marovanyati Dam in Buhera while Causeway Dam near Marondera is near completion.

The President also toured various coal mining projects in Matabeleland North including the ongoing expansion of Hwange 7 and 8 power station.

The new Parliament building is also on course for completion next September after delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. President Mnangagwa also toured road rehabilitation and bridge construction projects carried out by local companies in Chimanimani, an area that two years ago was adversely affected by Cyclone Idai.

He said his Government would ensure that in the next few years, major roads will be surfaced, dams constructed to climate proof agriculture and construct state-of-the-art hospitals that will benefit everyone. The President also launched the National Development Strategy 1 that will run from 2021-2025 following the successful implementation of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.

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