Kagame ratchets up pressure on Chamisa ahead of 2023

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RWANDAN President Paul Kagame will be in Zimbabwe next week to launch a massive US$800 million rural electrification project which President Emmerson Mnangagwa sees as a game changer in his bid to secure re-election in next year’s crucial general elections, The NewsHawks reported.

Official government and Zanu-PF sources say Kagame will be coming for the launch of the project, which Mnangagwa views as his election trump card, given that he has not fulfilled a litany of the ruling party’s promises.

Among many unfulfilled promises, Mnangagwa in 2018 promised to “ensure provision of electricity to all rural areas” if he won the elections, which he did by a wafer-thin margin in the presidential poll.

Kagame personally mobilised the funding after Mnangagwa pleaded with him to do so, according to Rwanda’s daily newspaper, The New Times which is pro-government.

The programme is aimed at transforming livelihoods of the rural population in the southern African country. Mnangagwa previously said Kagame will attend the unveiling of the rural electrification programme at the end of this month.

He recently said Kagame helped him secure US$800 million funding for the rural electrification programme.

Mnangagwa told Zanu-PF supporters in the lowveld in Chiredzi that the programme feeds into his government’s rural development agenda, which encompasses the creation of smart homes equipped with clean energy, potable water and nutrition gardens.

“We have a programme which is coming at the end of this month. President Kagame of Rwanda is visiting us for this occasion,” Mnangagwa told a crowd at a Zanu-PF “thank you” rally.

“This is after I spoke to him to say, fellow brother, our country Zimbabwe is under sanctions but we have a programme to ensure everyone has access to electricity wherever they are. President Kagame then spoke to his friends and he secured US$800 million. So that’s the facility he is coming to launch.”

Mnangagwa said every Zimbabwean will soon have electricity regardless of where they are.

“If you go to Rwanda and see what President Kagame has done in the villages, it is well organised. Over there (in Rwanda) they work in unity with government assistance. That way, there is no family which is left behind because every household is assisted out of poverty,” he said.

“There is a shortage of electricity in the country and the Sadc (Southern African Development Community) region. In our case, it is mainly because of the economic growth we have experienced in recent years.”

Zimbabwe is facing serious electricity shortages due to limited power generation capacity.

Kagame has identified energy as an essential ingredient for sustainable growth and development.

His government recognises the importance of providing “appropriate, reliable, and affordable energy supplies for all Rwandans” if the country is to achieve middle-income status.

It is envisaged that the rural electrification project will see almost all of Zimbabwe’s rural population accessing electricity in a move that is expected to boost his popularity ahead of the crucial polls.

Mnangagwa has largely not delivered on his Zanu-PF manifesto. For example, he has failed on the following promises he made in the run up to the 2018 polls:

Build 2 000 schools by 2023;

Rehabilitate and establish at least one vocational training centre per administrative district; l Ensure Treasury allocates at least 15% of the budget to healthcare in line with the Abuja Declaration;

Establish at least one new hospital per ad-
ministrative district by 2023;

Deliver at least 1.5 million affordable housing units to the people in the next five years in collaboration with the private sector; and

Not move or destroy property unless settled on land designated for schools, clinics or roads.

Zanu-PF insiders say the move by Kagame was timely as the rural folk, the party’s support base, is increasingly getting agitated by the lack of tangible development in the country’s countryside where the ruling Zanu-PF has traditionally received political support which has kept it in power for four decades.

Ruling party insiders told The NewsHawks Kagame’s intervention is critical to rescuing Mnangagwa.

Kagame’s visit will coincide with Zanu-PF’s elective congress next week which runs from 26 to 29 October. Mnangagwa is expected to retain the party leadership unopposed.

Kagame will also attend the Zanu-PF congress, where his presence is expected to provide a boost for Mnangagwa who was initially under pressure not to seek re-election from his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.

“This will be a game changer for ED (Mnangagwa) in many ways,” a Zanu-PF insider said. “On one hand, he will provide electricity to the rural population, something the government has failed to do so in many years despite the loyalty that the party has received over many years from the countryside. This is aimed at pacifying them.”

The insider said pacifying the rural voter could have been difficult if the intervention from Kagame had not materialised.

Besides, Zanu-PF insiders say Kagama’s visit will also have political impact.

Kagame’s presence at the congress will cement Mnangagwa’s continued hold on power as it was unlikely that anyone would attempt to challenge him during the visit of a strongman in his mould.

When Mnangagwa came to power in 2017 through a coup, it was said in diplomatic circles that Britain, which supported him, wanted him to establish a Rwandese model in Zimbabwe characterised by a strong authoritarian executive with effective leadership and institutions driving economic recovery and growth.

Rwanda and Zimbabwe enjoy friendly relations that have seen the two countries signed several agreements of cooperation and memoranda of understanding in various areas.

Pacts signed in July include the extradition treaty, a memorandum of understanding on immigration cooperation and another memorandum on cooperation when investigating civil aircraft accidents and other serious incidents.

During the signing of the agreements, Rwanda was represented by Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Vincent Biruta who was in Zimbabwe.

Over 200 Zimbabwean teachers are expected to start working in Rwanda as part of the cooperation between the two countries.

Businesspeople from both countries are exploring opportunities as they seek to expand their operations.

Last month, a delegation of business leaders from Rwanda visited Zimbabwe to explore opportunities in the mineral-rich southern African country.

Zimbabwean businesses have already set shop in Rwanda, whose economy is the fastest growing in Africa.

Mnangagwa in March opened the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment Conference in Harare, stressing the need for the two countries to boost trade and cooperation, and improve the livelihoods of citizens.

He oversaw the signing of three memoranda of understanding, namely in trade and investment, an implementation agreement on energy, and an MoU between Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.

Since 2017, there have been many mutual visits and meetings between Mnangagwa and Kagame, and their officials.

Source – thenewshawks