For the first time since the country’s independence, this year’s presidential elections have attracted a remarkably high number of contenders for varying reasons.
But for Bulawayo-based engineer Harry Peter Wilson, his declared motivation is to end the suffering Zimbabweans have had to endure for the past 16 years. His party, the Democratic Opposition Party (DOP), was formed in 2002 in the United Kingdom, where he was in self-imposed exile.
Eng Wilson says his Government will strive to resuscitate industry and create an environment that is conducive to do business.
“My reasons for entering the Presidential race is the plight of Zimbabweans. This is not the Zimbabwe we asked for in 1980. We keep on asking ourselves every day, is this the Zimbabwe we wanted? Without its own currency? I have come to create an environment conducive for every Zimbabwean to have a job and do business freely.
“That is what we have come to correct. I ask, is this the Zimbabwe we asked for? No jobs, no food, and no electricity; people living on the streets. It’s so painful. From 2002, many people were imprisoned and some of our guys were imprisoned for moving people outside the country on asylum and getting them educational sponsorship,” said Eng Wilson.
“From 2002, l was in exile in London; that’s when we formed DOP. We remained underground because of the (former President) Mugabe era. Now that the space has been opened, we realised that it is the chance for DOP to come out of the shell and meaningfully contribute to the economy and change the plight of Zimbabweans,” he said.
His vision for a better Zimbabwe, Eng Wilson said, is to implement industrial projects for economic growth.
“Our vision for Zimbabwe is economic revival, improve banking systems and implementation of major projects such as Ziscosteel, all mining concerns, platinum, tin, every mineral which will benefit the country on exports and reduce our imports. . .”
A conducive environment will be created in order to attract industries whose products constitute the bulk of imports into the country, he says.
“All imported produce will have to be the backbone of the local manufacturing industries, where the external manufacturer will be invited to open business in Zimbabwe, with a cheaper manpower and hardworking force, which l know will benefit and create many jobs at the height of the (envisaged) economic growth.”
The government of DOP, he said, intends to introduce a local currency that is backed by mineral exports.
“We will revisit the resuscitation of the Zimbabwe currency, with export valuation of all our mineral produce to be the backbone of the valuation of our local currency.”
His government, he added, will put strict measures to end cash vending in informal markets.
But DOP also plans to leverage on local skills, including realigning the health and education sectors, in order to create a healthy economy.
According to Eng Wilson, it is unconscionable for his party to join the MDC-Alliance as the party has been culpable in bringing suffering among Zimbabweans.
“We couldn’t join the Alliance based on principles. We differed on how they pushed the Americans to press sanctions on their own country, which are now starving the nation, an example of how they closed credit lines.”
DOP registered 14 aspiring parliamentarians and 45 councillors and this, according to Eng Wilson, is by design since “they are not greedy” for power.
He said as DOP, they are prepared to work with whoever wins next week’s polls.
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