By Luckmore Safuli
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has proclaimed Victoria Falls a city through Statutory Instrument 285 of 2020, with the country’s tourism capital becoming the first city in the resource-rich Matabeleland North Province.
Through the Proclamation, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces altered the name Victoria Falls Municipality to Victoria Falls City.
The Proclamation 9 of 2020 issued by President Mnangagwa directs that all by-laws, regulations, rules or orders existing in respect of the municipality area shall remain in force within the whole city area.
President Mnangagwa is also expected to officially confer the city status at an event slated for this Wednesday in the border town where he will also be granted Freedom of the City in recognition of his contribution towards the growth of the town.
The Victoria Falls Council will become the first municipality to attain the status under the Second Republic.
The milestone achievement is in recognition of the growth of the town and its importance to the country’s economy as a tourism hub.
The conferment of the Freedom of the City on President Mnangagwa is a befitting honour in recognition of his administration’s efforts in transforming the resort town into a vibrant and competitive destination.
The area is also of historical significance. After being released from prison during the liberation struggle, President Mnangagwa was forced to walk along the Victoria Falls Bridge in chains.
Upon reaching the no man’s land, the chains were removed and he was set free before crossing into Livingstone, Zambia.
The resort town is part of the Victoria Falls-Hwange-Binga Special Economic Zone comprising Masue and Batoka satellite towns.
Government is also in the process of transforming the town into an Offshore Financial Services Centre as evidenced by the establishment of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange.