The Sunday Mail
Today we say bye-bye to July and begin welcoming August, a month that could potentially be engraved in gold — black gold — in the annals of history, if all goes according to plan.
And, Bishop Lazi will fittingly begin this week’s instalment in the same way he ended last week’s piece —with eerily poignant visions.
Well, last week there was reference to a fascinating church service held in May 2018 by Malawian preacher Shepherd Bushiri, where he claimed to have seen a vision of “something that looks like Dubai being built” in Zimbabwe.
“I am seeing a land that looks like Dubai … I am seeing a new city — I had a vision — it looks like Dubai … In the next six years from now, you will see something that looks like Dubai being built …I saw the roads in this city; I saw the beauties — Wonderful! Wonderful! God is about to promote the land of Zimbabwe!”
Fast forward to 2022, Dubai billionaire Shaji Ul Mulk breaks ground in Mount Hampden to build an ultra-modern Cyber City that mimics real estate development along Sheikh Zayed Road, the longest road in the UAE and home to high-rise buildings that house opulent residential and serviced hotel apartments.
The happy happenstance is strikingly staggering.
This week, however, we dwell on another vision described by Emmanuel Makandiwa at a church service dubbed Judgement Night 3 at the National Sports Stadium on August 28, 2015.
“I am seeing oil coming out of the grounds … I was taken by the Spirit of the Lord and we did a survey. I saw in the Spirit our forefathers spending a lot of money looking for this precious oil that I have mentioned …” he said.
“And the Lord said to me, ‘Are they going to find it? If they find it, is it enough for the problems that you have?’ …
“As you are blowing those horns, I saw machines in that place, and these machines were very huge and they had pipes like an elephant going into the ground. And the machines were all over the place and the machines were very big with structures like elephants, and they were sucking oil from the ground.”
Fast forward to November 1, 2018, ED announces to the nation that a potential oil and gas deposit had been discovered in Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central, by Australian company Invictus.
And, again, the happy happenstance is quite remarkable.
Fun fact: Makandiwa is actually from Muzarabani.
Whatever one makes of these visions by these two men is inconsequential, what matters are the realities of today what they mean for both the future and posterity.
For the record, the Bishop doesn’t believe in hocus pocus and the abracadabra kind of stuff, but in human agency, mysteries of the world and the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of a Supreme Being.
What we at least know is that God uses ordinary and seemingly unassuming people to do extraordinary work.
Jesus’s disciples or trusted lieutenants were not quite the league of extraordinary gentlemen one would expect to be hobnobbing with the Son of God.
There were characters such as Paul, who used to be called Saul, a crusader that fanatically persecuted Christians but eventually mellowed into an avid preacher; Matthew, a former tax collector who was previously loathed by people, as taxmen at the time were known for their ruthlessness, callousness and corruption; Simon Peter, a sometimes fickle personality who usually wore his heart on his sleeve but was later given the onerous task of leading the Church.
Should we also talk about the 80-year-old stammerer and stutterer — Moses —tasked with leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land?
Act 4:13-14 says: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.”
Well, folks, ceteris paribus, August is the month that it is all expected to happen.
This is where the rubber meets the road when Invictus finally drills exploration wells in Muzarabani to confirm whether we really have commercially exploitable oil and gas resources.
Indeed, Zimbabwe might very well be on the cusp of a momentous and consequential development that might radically change its socio-economic and political landscape for generations to come.
While it might be premature to be popping the champagne, preliminary indications and behind-the-scene developments over the last few months suggest it could be a huge find.
Many have not quite processed what all this might mean for them, their wellbeing and future.
Bishop Lazi will obligingly give them a hint.
When the initial estimates were made in November 2018, we were told the prospected area could potentially hold 3,9 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas and 181 million barrels of conventional gas.
Never mind this technical gobbledygook, what it simply meant in layman’s terms, according to Invictus MD Scott Macmillan, was that 3,9 tcf of natural gas could give the country 500MW of power for 40 years, while 181 million barrels of conventional gas can give Zimbabwe enough fuel for the next 20 years at consumption levels of 25 000 barrels per day.
This was the projection then.
The good news is that the resource estimate has since been massively reviewed upwards to 20 trillion cubic feet and 845 barrels of conventional gas.
Again, don’t let the numbers give you an asthma attack, just extrapolate what kind of stupendous impact this might have on our economy.
In March 2020, before the recent upgrade, Macmillan gave us an idea.
“Discovery (of gas or oil) would mean energy independence for Zimbabwe, which is vital for economic growth and prosperity. There is a clear correlation between energy consumption, prosperity and gross domestic product.
“And for a country like Zimbabwe it would mean that we are no longer reliant on fuel and electricity imports and instead of consuming 25 percent of our foreign currency importing diesel and petrol, if enough is discovered we can turn into net exporter,” he said at the time.
While Zimbabweans are mercilessly bludgeoning and tearing each other apart through noxious and soul-sapping slurs on social media, a few of the woke such as Joe Mutizwa and many opportunistic foreigners are sneaking in to capture what could probably be a money-minting business soon.
Remember that British oligarch called Algy Cluff, who once had a finger in the Freda Rebecca gold mine before selling off his investments some time in 1996?
He was once a close friend of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, together with her husband Denis, were the guest of honour when Cluff opened Freda Rebecca gold mine in 1989.
One day, the Bishop will tell you a story of how an inebriated Denis, oiled by gin and tonic, caused a stir at the ceremony.
But the Bishop digresses.
Cluff, the English oilman, who was one of the first to drill for oil in the North Sea, has since tip-toed his way back through supporting the oil exploration company’s well exploration exercise.
This guy can smell oil from a mile away.
He is angling for 25 percent stake in the project.
It gets more interesting.
In the three months between April and June, Invictus has received three farm-in offers for the projects, and expects more, which is unsurprising.
These are serious people who are positioning themselves for the envisaged jackpot.
It is highly likely that after foreign interests swoop on the asset, the same indefatigably belligerent social media imbeciles will stridently cry that the resource is being looted.
But ZANU PF, which holds absolute sway in Mashonaland Central after bagging all the parliamentary seats on offer during the 2018 elections, is obviously gleefully following developments at the oil and gas project, which was initially cynically derided by the opposition when it was announced.
Invictus has already completed drilling boreholes, installing solar panels and pumps, including above-ground storage tanks “to provide year-round and continuous access to water for clinics and communities in the Mbire and Muzarabani districts”.
Communities are happy and expectant, and we all know what this means – politically. Kikikiki.
This is just the beginning.
Over the next 12 months, we will begin to see and feel the impact of major projects that have been gestating over the past four years.
While the dreaded bane of load-shedding seems to have returned with a vengeance – largely as an unintended consequence of growing manufacturing industries and the coming on line of big mining projects that have a gargantuan appetite for electricity – this is likely to be banished soon enough.
Just for perspective, Dinson Iron and Steel Company, which is presently establishing a US$1 billion iron ore mine and steel plant in Manhize, is getting 100MW from ZETDC for its operations, but is forecast to consume 500MW within the next three years.
However, within the next three to four years, the new Unit 7 at Hwange Power Station will add a significant 300MW to the grid, while the remaining new unit – Unit 8 – will add another 300MW three and four months later.
As they say, the darkest hour is before dawn.
ED was right after all.
Our resources, particularly in mining and agriculture, will help unshackle us from the manacles of Western sanctions.
From February 24, we have seen how Vladimir Putin’s Russian Federation has leveraged on oil and gas resources to temper the impact of sanctions from the usual sanctioners.
Under siege, its currency, the ruble, has become the best-performing currency this year, jumping 45 percent against the dollar, and its economy is relatively stable.
Its adversaries, on the other hand, are reeling.
The US, roiled by galloping inflation, is sinking deeper into recession, while Europe, in addition to rising prices, faces the real prospect of a very bitter and “absolutely catastrophic winter” with limited Russian gas supplies, according to British politician and former EU Member of Parliament Nigel Farage.
They are now talking of energy rationing, which is just euphemism for load-shedding. Kikikiki.
Our imminent rise to prosperity is irrepressible.
Our time has come.