AS IT HAPPENED: Official opening – ZITF 2018

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Updates by Vusumuzi Dube, Fortunate Muzarabani, Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Robin Muchetu

Online Editor: Stanford Chiwanga

15:41 – President ends by declaring the trade fair officially opened and wishes businesses well as they engage in various deals during the trade showcase.

15:40 – I am certain the standards of living will be enhanced as our economy continues to improve. Hence let us all work together as we make efforts in reviving this, our economy.

15:35 – My government is making efforts to increase the availability of utilities like water and electricity which we know are key drivers to our industrialisation drive. My government is cognisant in trading beyond borders and congestion in our borders which is highly negative. We are in the process of modernising our borders.

I order our officials within our borders such as Zimra to change their work ethic otherwise they need not be there.

15:33 – My government will not tolerate any form of public lethargy, bottle necks, and corruption. Anyone who will be seen frustrating our efforts will fall by the wayside. We will constantly engage stakeholders to further improve our efforts. My administration will continue to ensure that Zimbabwe is a safe country to invest and do business in.

The designation of special economic zones is ongoing. I challenge local businesses to play their part and take advantage of the various facilities which my government is putting in place. Related to this I call on the city of Bulawayo to think big as they push to revive the city’s industrial sector. Further I commend the expansion plans which have been forwarded by the ZITF Company.

15:25 – We recognize that we cannot do it alone hence we are on a re-engagement drive to attract Foreign Direct investment through the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business mantra’. We mean business and we realise that action speaks louder than words.

15:23 – On behalf of the government and indeed on my behalf I welcome you all to this trade showcase. ZITF is a showcase of the entire economic spectrum, which enhances linkages. It is encouraging that ZITF is growing bigger and better. Your decision to exhibit is testimony of the confidence we have in the growth of the country’s economy.  I wish to commend ZITF Company for a job well done.

This year’s edition of the ZITF resonates well with my government’s economic thrust which is industrialisation and modernisation as envisaged by our vision 2030. To achieve this vision we need collaborative approaches.

15:19 – The President goes through his salutations as he begins his speech…

15:17 – Dr Bimha invites President Mnangagwa to the podium to give his remarks and officially open this year’s trade fair.

15:15 – The ZITF provides the opportunity to dialogue among stakeholders to provide solutions to some of the country’s (economic) challenges. The fair also assists companies to engage and create contacts among themselves which will lead in us fulfilling the mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’.

I am honoured today to introduce President Mnangagwa who has dedicated his life to free us from economy bondage. He has proven to be a man of his words emphasising his mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’. Among his top priorities is the industrialisation of Zimbabwe.

Today we are honoured to have this great visionary among us.

15:11 – Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Bimha takes to the podium to give his remarks after which he will invite the guest of honour, President Mnangagwa to give the main speech.

15:09 – Ms Ncube ends her speech by emphasising that ZITF is open for business.

15:05 – “President we honour and thank you for the strides you have made in the reengagement efforts as this has seen a change in attitude which makes this year’s trade fair bigger and better. You have made popular your mantra, Zimbabwe is open for business of which we are saying indeed Zimbabwe is open for business.

The ZITF Company is on a positive trajectory and we can assure that this year’s trade fair is bigger and better, space occupancy this year increased by six percent. We are appreciative of the guidance and leadership provided by our parent Minister Dr Mike Bimha. Plans are in course for infrastructure development to build an integrated infrastructure as we have noted that each year we continue to grow.

The drive is to increase capacity utilisation of this exhibition centre as we continue in our strides to grow and further market this city of Bulawayo. We will be approaching government to request the granting of special economic zone status for ZITF as we feel this is well deserved.”

14:59 – The chairperson of ZITF Ms Ruth Ncube takes to the podium to give the opening remarks.

14:59 – The chairperson of ZITF Ms Ruth Ncube takes to the podium to give the opening remarks.

14:56 – President Mnangagwa now leaves the saluting base. He takes his place at the President’s box as Pastor Mhlophe from the Seventh Day Adventist church leads everyone in prayer.

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14:49 – The Parade Commander requests permission from the Commander in Chief to march past and off the arena. The permission is granted by President Mnangagwa.

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14:43 – The President is done inspecting the guard of honour. He makes his way back to the saluting base.

14:40 – President Mnangagwa proceeds to inspect the guard of honour. He is escorted by Commander Lt Gen Sibanda.

14:32 – As the National Anthem is sang there is a fly past, which is one of the honours accorded to the President.

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14:30 – The stadium erupts in ululation and whistles as President Mnangagwa’s motorcade makes its way into the main arena to kick start proceedings.

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14:21 – Vice President Chiwenga has arrived at the main arena followed by the First Lady Mnangagwa. We now await the arrival of the guest of honour, President Mnangagwa.

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14:17 – Chief Justice Luke Malaba has arrived at the main arena.

14:12 – Service chiefs are now making their way into the main arena, being led by Commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda.

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14:04 – The ZITF main arena is now filled but still more people are trickling in.

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13:48 – The Zimbabwe Defense Forces Guard of Honour marches into the main arena.

13:47 – President Mnangagwa is expected to officially open the 59th edition of the ZITF. The ceremony is expected to resume at 2PM. Already Dignitaries are making their way into the main arena.

12:17 – The First Lady has wrapped up her tour.

12:12 – President Mnangagwa has ended his tour of ZITF exhibitions.

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12:01 – An expectant crowd has gathered and is waiting to catch a glimpse of the First Lady when she exist from the Women’s League stand.

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11:58 – More images of the tour…

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11:50 – Exit President Mnangagwa from the Zanu-PF Centre – enter First Lady Mnangagwa.

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11:45 – The President is now at the Botswana Investment Centre.

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11:40 – President Mnangagwa was taken through the Zanu-PF stand by the party chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kachiri.

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11:26 – President Mnangagwa is not stopping for anyone; he has toured the Zanu-PF stand and is now at the Command Agriculture stand.

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11:21 – The 11 television sets have been handed over to the Bulawayo City Council.

 Amai Mnangagwa hands over a TV to Bulawayo City Council Director of Health Mr Edwin Sibanda.

Amai Mnangagwa hands over a TV to Bulawayo City Council Director of Health Mr Edwin Sibanda.

11:16 – Amai Mnangagwa says HIV and TB prevention can be reinforced repeatedly through drama and other entertainment activities. She urges NAC to come up with programs that target men to take part in health aware activities.

“Cervical cancer kills women as they have no information and are stigmatised. Through partnerships HIV, TB and NCDs can be tackled in Zimbabwe,” says the First Lady as she applauds organisations that lead the fight against cancer in Zimbabwe.

She concludes her speech and proceeds to sign the Barcelona Declaration is a declaration is open to any political representative in the world to sign and is a demonstration of support and solidarity for efforts to end the TB pandemic. It is designed to raise the profile of the disease among politicians and is a tool for advocates wishing to engage local decision-makers.

Minister Masuku also signed.

11:05 – Groups fuelling new HIV infections are commercial sex workers, long distance truck drivers, prison settings; young people, especially girls in institutions of higher education, colleges and polytechnics and mining communities – says Minister Parirenyatwa.

10:58 – President Mnangagwa is not slowing down – he was at the National Foods stand now he is at the Agriculture…

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10:55 – Amai Mnangagwa follows proceedings at the NAC ceremony.

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10:50 – Meanwhile President Mnangagwa and his delegation are continuing with their separate tour and are now at the The Wattle company.

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10:45 – Minister of Bulawayo Province Angeline Masuku gives welcoming remarks at the handover of 11 television sets procured by NAC for the Bulawayo City Council. She commends NAC for leading the fight against HIV/AIDS and assures the First Lady that fight against HIV/AIDS and TB remains top priority in Bulawayo.

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10:30 – President Mnangagwa has began his tour. He is accompanied by Vice President Chiwenga and Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha.

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10:20 – The First Lady is accompanied by Minister of Women and Youth Affairs, Sithembiso Nyoni and Minister of Health and Child Care David Parirenyatwa.

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10:15 – First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa is currently touring exhibition stands at ZITF. She is now at the National AIDS Council pavilion.

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PREAMBLE

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is scheduled to officially open the 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) today.

This is the first time President Mnangagwa officiates at the ZITF as the Head of State following the resignation of former President Mr Robert Mugabe last year.

Running under the theme: “Sustainable Industrial Development – Inclusive, Competitive, and Collaborative,” the international expo kicked off on Tuesday with a packed business programme of top-level engagement in what organisers described as the “biggest” international trade showcase in decades.

Stay with us for live updates of the opening ceremony…