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» » Will Mnangagwa remember Masvingo?

President E.D Mnangagwa

Golden Maunganidze

The people of Masvingo recently managed to come together and join the nation in celebrating the fall of Zimbabwe's long-time dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe who ruled the country with an iron fist for over 37 years.
For many people in Masvingo and of course the broader part of southern Zimbabwe, Mugabe was not just a dictator but also a tribalist that concentrated on developing only one part of the country.
The people of Masvingo, feel that any sober government must seriously consider giving the province the respect and support that it deserves.
The province hosts the oldest urban settlement in Zimbabwe and the country derives its name from Great Zimbabwe monuments that are a few kilometres away from Masvingo city.
Geographically, it is the only city in the country which is strategically positioned with almost equal distance to other economic hubs of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Beitbridge.
Several buildings in the town of Masvingo are historical, with most of them qualifying to be heritage sites as they carry a lot of historical significance and are among the oldest buildings in the country. It is very difficult to understand the history of Zimbabwe without passing through Masvingo. The province is actually the heart of Zimbabwe since that is where it all started. By naming the country after the monuments, the government of those days had some sense that made them realise the significance of the province of this great nation of Zimbabwe.
Even the colonial governments realised that Masvingo was very critical to the economic fortunes of the country as reflected in the efforts they made to develop the province. These efforts include the construction of an international airport at Buffalo Range in Chiredzi.
The province is rich in tourist attraction centres, chief among them the Great Zimbabwe Monuments and Gonarezhou National Park.
There are a lot of man-made attractions and sites such as the vast sugarcane plantations of the Lowveld, Lake Mutirikwi and Tokwe Mukosi Dam among others.
Under normal circumstances, the people of Masvingo expect fair recognition from the government where responsible ministries are tasked to make sure that the province is accorded the status which it deserves.
However, instead of enjoying the benefits of the good that is found there, all they have abundantly received in the past 37 years is derision as evidenced by the social media jokes of recent months.
There are also widespread perceptions that this province is being marginalised in terms of development with complaints that authorities in Harare are already leveraging economic opportunities like fishing rights and hospitality stakes at Tokwe Mukosi to their own people and not the local people.
Instead of becoming the true nationalist that he was supposed to be, Mugabe together with his wife jumped in to mock the people of Masvingo, accusing them of being tribalists. It then became politically disadvantageous and unfashionable to be associated with Masvingo.
It is also disturbing to note that the country's geographical surface area is not fairly demarcated. There are some provinces that are unjustifiably huge while others are very small. The end result is that other provinces end up getting a bigger national cake as compared to others thereby forcing people to think that devolution is the only way forward.
For a long time, the people of Masvingo were suffering in silence.
When Walter Mzembi was elected minister of tourism, the people of Masvingo thought that it was going to be time for him to also market his home area but he failed dismally in that regard. He turned a blind eye to everything significant about Masvingo and reduced himself to Minis

ter of the Victoria Falls. This explains why Mzembi was loved in Harare and other places but hated at home; the people of Masvingo did not find value in him.
Now to the newly elected President who was born in Masvingo, it is time to lift the lead that has been preventing Masvingo from shining and taking its rightful position. It is not like the President must do any special favours for them. No. A real leader must be good in equal distribution of state resources.
The people of Masvingo have a few things that they are expecting from the President; such things as revamping the Buffalo Range International airport, according Great Zimbabwe monuments the status that they deserve, promoting tourism activities at Tokwe Mukosi, turning the Lowveld into the green belt that can feed the nation and of course breathing life to Cold Storage Company depot that was closed years ago. We may not talk about the death path which links Harare and Beitbridge under the guise of a highway. There is nearly a fatal accident on that 'highway' on daily basis and yet these deaths can be avoided.
The people of Masvingo are therefore eagerly waiting to see if Mnangagwa can remember them once he starts enjoying the comfort that is associated with being resident at State House.
After all the people of Masvingo, alongside their brothers in the Midlands, took the most battering from the former dictator for defending news

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