AMH group boss challenges Mnangagwa to revive NRZ

Kenias Mafukidze, CEO at Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) said Mnangagwa was well placed to make the bold decisions required to help NRZ return to full operations.

THE chief executive officer (CEO) of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest media houses has challenged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to use his power to revive the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

Kenias Mafukidze, CEO at Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), an integrated operation with interests in print and broadcasting services, said there was no need for Zimbabwe to wait for foreigners to revive the vital state asset.

He said Mnangagwa was well placed to make the bold decisions required to help NRZ return to full operations.

“Look at Malaysia’s Petronas Towers. They built it for nothing other than legacy, making a dent on history,” Mafukidze said in a presentation during the CEO Africa Roundtable annual conference in Victoria Falls last week.

He said under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP), Zimbabwe has already demonstrated its capacity to carry out successful mega projects.

The country has spent billions of dollars carrying out the massive revamp of its dilapidated road network, including the 580 kilometre Harare–Masvingo–Beitbridge road, which is nearing completion.

Other infrastructural projects have also been completed outside the ERRP, such as dams and irrigation projects.

Many more highways still remain unattended.

But Mafukidze said results of projects already carried out were encouraging.

“The roadworks that we have done are second to none,” he said.

“We have seen things happening. Please go and think about one big project that becomes your legacy project.

“For example, if I look at National Railways of Zimbabwe, as our chairman was saying, there is no justification on this planet that all 16 million people led by you have to wait for some investors outside to buy one train for US$3 million. You can make that happen tomorrow.

“There is no reason why you should not tell someone to go out there (and) find at least three trains every year, that is US$9 million and we have US$100 billion that we are going to run.

“Make it count, because you have so much power to lead us and God put you here as one of only two presidents in the last 50 years,” the AMH CEO said.

The recapitalisation of the parastatal plays an economic transformative role by providing cost-effective transport services for goods and passengers.

At its peak, in the late 1990s, the NRZ used to move 18 million tonnes of cargo per year.

During that time, it was a major economic employer with 600 locomotives and 3 000 passenger carriages.

However, from the year 2000, the rail transport operator took a downward turn, to the extent of reverting to steam engines and discontinuing some of its services, along the way.

In 2018, the NRZ signed a deal with a consortium of Zimbabweans in the diaspora who undertook to inject about US$400 million to revive the rail operator.

But the deal flopped.

However, government says it is looking at other options of rebuilding the company in which it controls 100% shareholding.

Mafukidze said since the election season was over, there was need for inclusivity in working towards the growth of the economy to be an upper-middle income economy by 2030.

“Elections are done,” he said.

“It is now time to work and all these people, women, men, black, white, red, whatever, they only have one President, whether they like it or not. Make it count. Make every Zimbabwean, whatever colour, feel that this is their country too.

“Because only that way, can we get that growth running from 5% to 50%,” Mafukidze added, saying: “And we think we deserve to be a middle income economy. We have all the lithium in the world, we have the best people in the country. We must achieve that. But we need your help and that help entails a couple of things.

"The first one is if you look at the next five years, say we have a budget of US$10 billion, you are presiding over US$50 billion over the next five years, and make it count".

Related Topics