Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday said the Government had drawn a lot of lessons from the philanthropic works being done by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, which identified gaps that need to be addressed for national development.
Speaking at a ceremony held in honour of the First Lady’s various achievements over the years, the President said the Government had for the first time since independence in 1980, begun assisting vulnerable communities in areas such as Kanyemba and developing basic amenities such as schools, roads and clinics, among others.
The ceremony was organised by the leadership in Mashonaland Central and was held in Chiweshe where the First Lady was born.
“When we came into office, the First Lady left her post as a Member of Parliament and started the Angel of Hope Foundation,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Through this Foundation, she has managed to reach out to the most marginalised communities. She pointed out to me that since independence, the Government has never assisted the communities down in Kanyemba.
“She has helped build a school and even provided scholarships for the children and we are grateful. On our part, we sent Ministers to look into this and now the road is being fixed and we are planning to build a state-of-the-art city there. All this is happening through her work.”
President Mnangagwa said through the Gota/Nhanga/ Ixhiba initiative, the First Lady had revived traditions that had been lost because of efforts to brainwash the people by colonialists.
This has helped to restore cultural and traditional values that can be the bedrock of the ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo’ mantra.
“Colonialists imposed their own culture on us and our people lost their identity. There were no programmes that targeted teaching our culture and tradition to the youths. We had gotten to a point where our youths identified more with foreign cultures and wanted to be like the English or the Germans or the French.
“The First Lady has taught these young people to respect themselves and their culture. This will help them accept who they are and grasp the concept that ‘nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, nekutongwa nevene vayo’.
“We are the ones who should build this country and also rule it, not these puppets who are swayed by what their colonial masters want. Those who want to help us should do so on the basis of what we have planned, not what they want,” added the President.
He said most of the notable developments that had been made by the Second Republic had been achieved with no foreign funding, but by using local money despite the presence of sanctions.
The President also commended the achievements and recognition that the First Lady had received, adding that they were a sign that she was doing good in the communities that she worked with.
Part of her achievements include an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from GD Goenka University of India, an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Russia State University for the Humanities and an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies from the Zimbabwe Open University.
Dr Mnangagwa was also awarded the “#We are together” global humanitarian award from Russia as well as a Gold medal from Crimean Federal University of Russia in recognition of her contribution in the education sector through her Angel of Hope Foundation.
Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Monica Mavhunga, said the First Lady’s programmes do not leave anyone or place behind.
Representing the Provincial Council of Chiefs, Chief Nyamaropa thanked the President for allowing the First Lady to carry out her work without hindrances.
“Since she started working with the communities, we have seen the number of domestic violence cases go down because she has been addressing these issues.
“We hope to see her continuing to work in this manner,” he said.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, said it was important for people to have confidence in their systems to cultivate a sense of ownership for their country.
He said the First Lady’s programmes were building such confidence through the restoration of cultural and traditional values.
“You cannot be innovative if you are following wrong doctrines. We need an education that brings out our identity as a people. The First Lady has been showing us and teaching us to accept who we are,” he said.
In response to the commendations, Dr Mnangagwa expressed her gratitude to God for giving her the gift to work with people and make an impact in their lives.
“God has watched over me to this day and most of you know how I grew up. All these great works were put in me by God because from a tender age, I was helping those in need. I would look after and assist the elderly in the community where I would perform their household chores.
“I never knew this was a gift from above. I thank God and appreciate the gift. I do not know where I get all this strength but God makes it possible,” she said.
She paid tribute to the Negomo clan, where she was born, for nurturing her and for their support.
“I wish to thank my husband, the President, because he neither complains nor shows discomfort as to why I do these works.
“I sometimes call him after leaving the house informing him that I have visited a certain province but he does not discourage me. This shows that God revealed to him that I have a gift and that is why he supports me in everything that I do. I also thank those from other countries who appreciated the work I do and recognised my efforts,” she said.