Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to set aside political differences and unite in the work towards reconstructing areas affected by Cyclone Idai. She was speaking at Silverstream Forward Distribution Centre where she received a donation of 22 000kg of mealie-meal handed over by Pan- African Parliament Ambassador for Food Security in Africa Dr Brylyne Chitsunge.
Dr Chitsunge is the late MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s niece, and she was in the company of her mother, Mrs Jane Chitsunge.
The First Lady said she had worked with Dr Chitsunge when she chaired the Pan African Parliament and they had developed a friendship that did not look at the political affiliation of their families.
“These people are part of the Tsvangirai family, but because of their Christian background and their love for their country, they put politics aside,” she said.
“We are not here to do politics. They came here to help during this difficult time that has befallen us as a country. President Mnangagwa’s Government has said no one should look at people’s background for them to develop the country.”
Amai Mnangagwa urged young people working in the diaspora to work hard towards attaining new skills and knowledge so that they can apply them back home.
She said she had also talked to Dr Chitsunge on ways to help women in affected areas to become self-sustainable in future and end their reliance on food handouts.
“While we were discussing, we decided to put these women in associations so that they can come up with projects they can work on as groups. If they work as groups, we can then easily monitor them,” she said.
“We will help them source markets for their products. We want to encourage farming within the women so that when we leave here, they are self-sustainable.”
The First Lady said she would engage the Minister of Lands to provide land in the areas where the affected people will be relocated, where the women could carry out their projects.
Dr Chitsunge said politics had no role when it comes to the development of a country.
“Without the Government of Zimbabwe, I would not have buried my uncle. When things became tough, I contacted the Government even during his illness and they assisted with the bills and the funeral,” she said.
She said she was commited to working with the First Lady to ensure that women in all affected areas embark on sustainable projects.
“I want to encourage women to work on sustainable projects that can help them earn a decent living. I call upon all foundations that have become redundant to come together and work with the Angel of Hope Foundation so that we can make this project a success,” she said.
Dr Chitsunge commended the assistance she had received from the international community in sourcing and transporting the donations.
She said there was need for more mobilisation efforts since the supplies at Silverstream were dwindling.
Her mother, Mrs Chitsunge, also commended the First Lady for the efforts she was making to help women. She urged Zimbabweans to support President Mnangagwa.
“Give President Mnangagwa a chance. People who have been saying negative things have not seen the amount of work he and Amai have put in to make the country better,” she said.