Samuel Kadungure Senior Reporter
THE new Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba has set out a gleaming vision of Manicaland’s future hinged on job creation, provision of front-line social services, social inclusion, value addition of local resources and combating corruption to successfully navigate the province back to socio-economic prosperity.
Dr Gwaradzimba, an academic and former University of Zimbabwe senior lecturer, spelt out her robust development agenda in an interview with The Manica Post on Wednesday where she said Manicaland has set itself to achieve middle-income status by 2030 through sustainable and inclusive economic growth and human development.
She said though the country faces several challenges – some triggered by global events beyond its control, with consequential ripple effects at local level, she was committed to making the tough decisions needed to get the economy back on the road to prosperity and sustainable development.
“Manicaland will be re-branded to become a model province. My vision is for a community that is people-centred and development that is centred on broader participation of the citizenry. I envision Manicaland as a geo-ecologically balanced, self reliant and sustainable with great prospects of creating wealth for its inhabitants.
“Manicaland is bestowed with abundant natural resources which can be equitably distributed among all its citizenry. We need explore and exploit natural resources with a commitment to enable our citizenry to live in comfort, security and prosperity,” said Dr Gwaradzimba.
She said focus will also be on provision of front-line social services revolving around decent housing, water, education, health and social amenities.
“To achieve the mission, we must spearhead provision of adequate, timely and responsive front-line social services – that is housing, water, education, health and social amenities. We shall foster optimum utilisation of resources and create an attractive investment climate, paying particular attention to the ease of doing business, promote modern technology and enhance indigenous skills,’’ Dr Gwaradzimba.
She called for full utilisation of the local human capital, saying priority should be given to the employment of locals where specialised skills are not required.
She also singled out the poor state of roads, hunger, lack of value addition and beneficiation, a lackadaisical attitude towards work, drought and climate change as some of the challenges blighting development in Manicaland.
“There is need for culture change and new work ethic, result-based management, capacity building and political orientation for civil servants. We also need to fight corruption out rightly,” said Dr Gwaradzimba.
She also hailed various initiatives by development partners to complement Government’s developmental agenda in rural communities, adding that she was looking forward to strengthening the working relationship and rapport.
Dr Gwaradzimba, who is Zanu PF central committee member and Senator, holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Masters of Adult Education, Bachelor in Adult Education, Diploma in Adult Education, Higher National Diploma in Secretarial Studies and Further Education Teachers
She has done academic researches on causes of student unrest in Institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe; roles of the teacher in Guiding and Counseling students at tertiary level; problem of sexual harassment of female students by male lecturers in institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe and causes, nature and consequences of the brain drain from institution of higher learning in Zimbabwe, among others. She has lectured at the University of Zimbabwe, Great Zimbabwe University, Africa University, Zimbabwe Open University, Midlands State University and Mutare Polytechnic, among others.
Dr Gwaradzimba joined the liberation struggle in Mozambique in 1976. She was trained in Tanzania at Nachingwea Military Academy where she majored in guerilla, conventional and regular warfar and was deployed at the war front in Gaza Province. She also served as secretary to Cde William Ndangana and Cde Kumbirai Kangai, deputy secretary for department of transport and social welfare (Maputo Office).