By Christopher Charamba
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) yesterday presented belated birthday gifts to President Mugabe, with the Head of State and Government commending them for being a key pillar in employment creation and economic development.
Businesses under the banner of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of SMEs presented the gifts, which included groceries and paint to the First Family for onward distribution to charities of their choice.
President Mugabe said Zimbabweans should strive to own businesses and create employment for themselves than waiting for outsiders.
“Munhu ngaazviise paanoona kuti apa ndinoda kuva,” he said. “Kwete kumirira kuti ndiiswe apa. Nanizve? Ndozvatirikuda izvozvo, kuti munhu ave iye anozviti ndini ndinozvipa basa kwete kumirira kuti takamirira kuti tipiwe basa.
“We should be employers of ourselves and employers of others.”
President Mugabe described as “top-class” the quality of products produced by SMEs.
“I did not expect to see this,” he said. “I just thought these were small things prepared by Mai (Sithembiso) Nyoni (Small and Medium Enterprise Development Minister). But this is a real, shall I say, an expo where they have showed us what SMEs are capable of doing on their own. Kwete kungochema kuti ah, tashaya mabasa, aiwa. Hatidi misodzi, tinoda dikita.”
President Mugabe challenged Harare as the capital city to take a leading role in creating jobs through SMEs and spreading the initiative to rural settings.
Minister Nyoni said the gifts to President Mugabe were an expression of solidarity.
“A lot of SMEs are really doing well, but are invisible,” she said.
“They came here to express solidarity with His Excellency and also to show that they are creating employment.
“They are employing themselves, employing others and they are really running the economy. Already, we want to assure the nation that the two million jobs will be created by SMEs.”
Minister Nyoni said the First Family would distribute the goods to charities of their own choice.
“It is for them to choose who they want to give, among the poor and among those who are suffering,” Minister Nyoni said.
About seven SMEs donated the goods.
Macsherp donated 500kg of brown sugar and three cases of cooking oil, Royal Charter/Queen of Grace (two wall clocks, three cases of sugar, three cases of flour and three cases of washing soap); Zimbabwe Chamber of SMEs (100 x 5kg bags of mealie meal, 200kg of beef and 200kg of sausages), G Konono (100x 10kg bags of mealie meal and 8x 2 litres Pure Drop cooking oil); Grassroots Vendors (25x 2kg brown sugar and two packs peanut butter); Resurgency Foods ( sorghum meal and one tonne of porridge) and Nash Paints (200 litres of paint).
First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe, Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko witnessed the presentation.