By Robert Tapfumaneyi
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is determined to win the urban vote through his modernisation agenda and improved service delivery, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairman, Christopher Mutsvangwa has said.
Mutsvangwa, who is part of his wife Monica (Information Minister)’s delegation attending the Africa Financial Services Investment Conference in London, said this while addressing Zimbabweans in the diaspora last week.
He said given that Zanu PF, during the liberation struggle, had received most of its support from the rural areas and concentrated its efforts in the countryside after independence, former President Robert Mugabe failed to come up with a message for the urban population.
“Now comes ED (Mnangagwa)’s open for business (mantra), there is no business in the rural areas. Urban has business, so suddenly we have an urban agenda,” the former presidential advisor said.
The opposition MDC has dominated elections in the country’s towns and cities since formation in 1999. Mutsvangwa said Zanu PF’s problem with the urban vote is historical.
Mutsvangwa added: “Our party (Zanu PF) has always had a challenge with the urban vote because when we went to war, we had to go to where the majority of the population is.
“So we remained basically a rural orientated party. We addressed most of the rural people’s issues like land reform. In so doing, we neglected the urban constituency.”
Mnangagwa, according to Mutsvangwa, is determined to change the lives of both the urban and rural populace in the country.
“Now the route to modernisation is through urbanisation. Without urbanisation, you are not modernising. Service delivery had virtually stopped. People in urban areas have been living exactly the same way as those in the rural areas. We had people building shacks in the cities.
“Urbanisation is building industries. Urbanisation is building factories. Many people left Zanu PF because we were not providing an agenda that speaks to their issues,” Mutsvangwa added.
The war veterans chairperson said the protests by the opposition will come to an end because there will be no need to demonstrate.
“When we say open for business, it means business, it means modernisation. So all the noise your hear (from the opposition) will die down very soon.
“The drums (by protestors) will sound no more. We want capital because you can’t develop without capital. We want you to be our ambassadors, persuade your friends to come and invest in the country,” he said.
Mutsvangwa appealed to Zimbabwe UK diaspora to be ambassadors of the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra so as to help attract investment back in the country.
“That’s why we are here in London. Please drive back the capital back home because without capital, we are doomed.
“That’s why the President is saying open for business to attract capital in volumes that has never been seen because the resource base is good the human resources capacity is excellent.”