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President urges mindset change in civil service

CIVIL servants should change their mindsets and be drivers of devolution and decentralisation to ensure that every citizen has access to basic services such as clean water and well-resourced schools, President Mnangagwa said.

Speaking at the burial of the former Public Service Commission chairperson, Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah, at the National Heroes Acre yesterday, President Mnangagwa said public servants must follow the footprints of the late national hero who shaped public administration in the country to be one of the best in the region.

“The late national hero will also be remembered for his well-crafted and thought out professional and widely researched advice on matters of public administration.

“He laid the foundation for the modernisation of the Public Service, including results-based, agile, skilled, and adaptable professionals in the service, who are highly regarded in Sadc and beyond.

“Benefiting from this, our public service officials should change their mindsets and be up to the task of delivering on their mandates, including delivery of services at every level in both rural and urban areas.

“They must be an embodiment of unity, and drivers of our devolution and decentralisation agenda.

“In this way, they will bring dignity to every citizen through ensuring uninterrupted delivery of basic services such as clean water, good roads, timeous availability of inputs, access to renewable energy and well-resourced schools, among other aspects,” the President said.

Public servants are a vital cog in the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which is central to the realisation of Vision 2030 to become an upper middle class economy.

The burial of Dr Nzuwah at the National Heroes Acre came just a week after President Mnangagwa posthumously conferred national hero status to five other outstanding Zimbabweans, namely Cde Rabelani Choeni, Cde Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, Cde Elliot Ngwabi, Professor George Kahari and Professor Sheunesu Mpepreki, eminent persons that the President said distinguished themselves in the political and socio-economic development Zimbabwe.

“Our public servants should also identify with communities as well as respect the cultures and languages of the duty stations they would have been deployed to.

“In light of this, it remains incumbent upon the entire civil service to continue upholding the unwavering, patriotic, humble hardworking character, high degree of professionalism and sense of duty-consciousness exhibited by the late national hero, Dr Nzuwah.

“My Government remains committed to improving the conditions of service, capacities and skills of our workers, in tandem with the demands of the new normal.

“Meanwhile, I commend all public servants for their resilience, hard work and perseverance in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Born in 1941 in Chivhu, the late Dr Nzyuwah was the chairperson of the Public Service Commission for 26 years and during his time of service, he transformed the country’s sprawling bureaucracy.

Embracing the philosophy that “nyika inovakwa neveni vayo”, the late Dr Nzuwah along with other leading academics such as Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, the late Dr Tichaona Jokonya and Dr Charles Utete heeded the call to return home and deploy their intellectual skills in building a new Zimbabwe.

“Whilst at the University of Maryland, the late national hero Dr Nzuwah, established a research journal, the Journal of Southern African Affairs. It was instrumental in providing academic and practical insights into the liberation movements of Africa and Pan-Africanism. This was part of the wider revolutionary agenda where pen and paper became tools to propel the liberation and development agenda of the African people.

“In the same vein, I challenge present-day intellectuals, young men and women pursuing various studies both locally and abroad to also play their part in enriching our cultural and ideological consciousness. As the African intelligentsia, you have the responsibility to engender and propel the political and economic development of our country and the continent as a whole,” said the President.

Fuelled by the desire to unshackle his country from colonial bondage, the late Dr Nzuwah was determined to engender and inculcate oneness in Zimbabwe following the rise of Zimbabwean nationalism in the 1960s.

“Today as we remember the late Dr Nzuwah, let us all recommit to protecting the gains of our protracted liberation struggle and the democratic society we have entrenched,” he said.

Cde Nzuwah, who died on Tuesday last week is survived by his wife Janice, four children and eight grandchildren.

Vice President Chiwenga, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and service chiefs are some of the dignitaries that attended the burial of Dr Nzuwah.

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