Felex Share, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mugabe has said the creation of the two million jobs promised to the people by Zanu-PF is a gradual process to be achieved through numerous initiatives such as value addition and beneficiation of the country’s resources.
In a wide ranging interview with ZBCtv ahead of his 93rd birthday today, President Mugabe said apart from getting employed, Zimbabweans should also strive to be entrepreneurs.
The President was born on February 21, 1924.
Official celebrations to mark the President’s birthday are slated for Matopos on Saturday.
In the traditional birthday interview whose first part was aired on ZBCTv last night, President Mugabe said economic growth was not an overnight event.
“The process is a gradual one,” he said.
“As we improve the economy sector by sector and bring about employment alongside that improvement, naturally we shall also be transforming the overall economic sectors in accordance with our Zim-Asset. Transforming means adding value to the raw materials that might come out of agriculture, mining et cetera so we ensure that upon the exportation of goods from these sectors, we shall receive perhaps, double or even more than double, what we might have got if we didn’t transform or add value to the particular goods. That whole process, it’s an economic process.”
President Mugabe went on: “As you transform the economy, you are actually ensuring greater employment, sector by sector, it’s the creation of industry by the way and industry is created in mining, agriculture and commerce by that transformative process, which ensures that we can now talk of our country having transformed and a greater part of our people having been employed.”
The Head of State and Government said it was sad that some people still had the mentality of working for whites, 37 years after independence.
To crush this inferior mentality, President Mugabe said, Zimbabweans should strive to own businesses.
“And by the way, employment, getting a job is not the only thing that we need to look forward to,” he said.
“We would want to see our people turned into entrepreneurs. Have we really become producers of our own goods, have we become the masters of our own economy or are will still thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers for these entrepreneurs?
‘’My worry in that regard, great worry indeed, (is that) even if we have said to our people, get together, form companies, form partnerships, collectives as African, Zimbabwe entrepreneurs (they say) no. They would want to see investment made by whites where they are able themselves to get together and invest in the particular area. They want to see a European invest and go and work for that European as directors, managers, chief executives.”
President Mugabe said furtive operations were stifling the growth of several sectors mainly agriculture.
“We are seeing in the agriculture sector quite a number of these surreptitious operations where they come and say, ‘you don’t have to worry if you have a farm. We can cultivate for you, stay where you are. Live in town, we will do the work for you’,” he said.
Turning to the land reform programme, President Mugabe said Government had done well to settle hundreds of thousands of indigenous people.
This, he said, fulfilled the wishes of departed nationalists such as Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo.
“I would say, we have continued to give land to the people and most of the land which used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our people,” he said.
“What is there now, is for us to ensure there won’t be retrogression. That those given the land, will keep it, use it, cultivate it properly and ensure it is productive. I would say (to Dr Nkomo) what you wanted me to do, I think I have done and done well. I think our objective earlier on which constituted our first grievance as we fought the struggle, that land possessed by settlers must be repossessed by we, the indigenous and not just that, but that it should also be defended and never be allowed once again to fall into the hands of the settlers. I think we have done that well.”