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 has been informed.
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;
- l 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 administrative 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