President Emmerson Mnangagwa has directed that the list of beneficiaries for the US$40 million Kilimanjaro Sugar Cane project be drawn afresh so that local people are the main beneficiaries.
The project, dubbed “Kilimanjaro”, is being developed by Tongaat Huletts Zimbabwe (THZ) in Chiredzi and will develop virgin land into sugar cane plantations at Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates.
On Sunday, Mnangagwa dispatched his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, to Chiredzi to “communicate key decisions of government to chiefs, headmen, councillors and MPs in Chiredzi, ahead of a massive irrigation project planned for the district.”
Yesterday, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba tweeted:
Through the Vice-President (Constantino Chiwenga), President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa directed that the list of beneficiaries for the giant Kilimanjaro sugarcane covering 4 000 hectares be drawn anew to ensure beneficiaries are locals in the main.
The President has taken a poignant interest in who is who on the list to ensure that government policy of local empowerment is not defeated by land barons from elsewhere intent on displacing locals, as happened during the colonial era when commercial cane agriculture took form through international finance capital.
Charamba said contrary to some claims that thousands of people will be pushed off their ancestral land, the project will bring development to the country’s marginalised communities. He said:
Development of Chiredzi falls within a broader national plan targeting for development of all marginal areas of Zimbabwe, principally Binga, Gwai-Shangani, Beitbridge, Chiredzi itself, Middle Sabi, Nyashanu, Rwenya and Kanyemba.
The key word is development, not displacement as claimed by detractors. At the heart of this national master plan for depressed areas is community empowerment through diversified irrigated agriculture, mining and eco-tourism.
Development of communication infrastructure, principally road networks, telecommunication broadcasting services is a key enabler in the matrix, as is also the intensification and upgrading of livestock in these zones which lend themselves eminently to animal husbandry.
Charamba said during the same visit by Chiwenga, a new water policy was unveiled at Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, which would meet the water requirements of commercial agriculture in the Chiredzi district.