PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday castigated the opposition for dismal failure in providing quality service delivery in urban councils, while calling on Zimbabweans to utilise impending by-elections slated for early next year to vote out incompetent leaders.

Opposition party councillors have over the years been accused of running down urban councils like Bulawayo, Harare and Gweru which they dominate, but have failed to bring any transformative impact.

Addressing scores of party faithfuls soon after landing at Victoria Falls International Airport ahead of today’s official opening of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) Council of Ministers, President Mnangagwa said urbanites were reeling under poor service delivery from opposition-run authorities.

He said the revolutionary party leadership in Matabeleland North informed him about the challenges being faced in the province such as access to clean water and electricity.

Victoria Falls Municipality, in particular, has been failing to provide enough water in the resort city, resulting in residents enduring long periods without supplies.

Zinwa was in the past responsible for pumping raw water from Zambezi River into a reservoir from where the local authority distributes to residents.

Despite the local authority having been given rights to pump, treat and distribute water on its own, it has failed to measure up to residents’ expectations.

President Mnangagwa pledged to address the water challenges in Victoria Falls, saying Government will always intervene to solve problems whenever they arise as it has people’s interests at heart.

“I have been told about the water challenges that you are facing here in Victoria Falls.

The party leadership in this province said the local authority took over water from Zinwa and yet they have no capacity to deliver,” said the President.

“Water is life and when there is no water at home life is difficult. Central Government is going to take over the water supply.

“They also told me that there are power challenges in Hwange but we are going to engage the relevant ministries to solve that issue.”

With the opposition out of depth on the service delivery front, the President said the onus was on the electorate to use the forthcoming elections to vote out incompetent councillors as they are derailing national development, especially in urban areas.

“As we go to by-elections next year, this is your opportunity to vote for Zanu-PF MPs and councillors. Most of the urban councils are run by opposition parties, but there is no meaningful development.

“We want council to be led by our own councillors whom we can trust and support to ensure effective service delivery,” he said.

Under the Second Republic, Government has been at the forefront of implementing far-reaching development projects across the country in line with the decentralisation and devolution agenda.

“Zanu-PF is for peace, development, harmony and unity.

There is no country without challenges — nyika inovakwa nevene vayo (ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo, a country is built by its own people).

We will not ask foreigners to build our country.

It is ourselves using our own resources and manpower to build our country,” said President Mnangagwa.

“For us to do so, we need peace not violent demonstrations by opposition elements.

They imposed sanctions thinking that our people would revolt against us.

Let us show them that we are united.”

The President said in the last two years, Victoria Falls has attracted investments worth over US$100 million. Just last week, the city witnessed the official opening of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), the first stock exchange in the country that will be trading in the United States dollar.

As a core activity, VFEX, will provide a gateway for companies in Zimbabwe, Sadc, and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa to raise capital in foreign currency.

It will also provide investors to trade in the secondary market in hard currency.

This means all global companies invested in Zimbabwe can now seek a listing on VFEX. The launch of VFEX has been lauded as one of the strategic initiatives being implemented by Government to stabilise the economy and attract foreign direct investment and as building blocks towards a middle-income economy by 2030.

President Mnangagwa also urged citizens to adhere to the WHO health covid-19 protocols.

“Let us adhere to Covid-19 protocols and if we follow those health guidelines, we will be able to conquer the pandemic.

We are in the fourth wave and due to our strong regulations and as far we are concerned the lives of our people are more important than anything else, we would want to preserve our lives,” he said.