Mnangagwa Appeals for Unity, As Zimbabwe Marks 41 Years of Independence

The US and European Union have expressed dissatisfaction over the piecemeal reforms and accuse Mnangagwa of human rights abuses [File: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP]

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appealed for unity in Zimbabwe saying a fragmented society cannot transform the country’s economy, which has over the past several years recorded historic inflationary figures.

Addressing the nation to mark Zimbabwe’s 41st independence celebrations, Mangagwa said, “As we commemorate this year’s 41st Independence Celebrations, let us look back at the previous years with great pride and joy. More importantly, however, let us look forward to the years ahead with a bright flame of hope for the next generation. We have begun this new decade of our independence with greater determination, resolve and confidence to achieve the vision we set out for ourselves. A vision of an empowered people with a higher standard of living. A vision of a thriving and prosperous economy, which plays its part within the comity of nations.

“Together, let us unite in our purpose, collate our potential and walk together hand-in-hand towards our common destiny. Through hard honest work and our trust in God Almighty, there is no limit to what our country can achieve, as we build the Zimbabwe we all want. “

Mangagwa also allayed fears over the revival of the country’s national youth service, which has been criticized by political opponents, who view it as an strong arm of the government used during elections to force people to vote for the ruling Zanu PF party.

“Regarding youth development and empowerment, government successfully reviewed the National Youth Policy and has reintroduced the National Youth Training Programme. These provide a broad framework for the empowerment of youth in a comprehensive, coordinated and multi-sectoral manner. The new focus will see the nurturing of young people who are technically skilled and knowledgeable, patriotic, honest and hard-working. It is envisaged that the refocused programme will inculcate a sense of national identity and the spirit of volunteerism among the youth, for the good of the country.”

He praised his wife, Auxillia Mnangagwa, for engaging youth and other Zimbabweans in created a culturally-oriented and informed society.

“I would like to commend the First Lady, Amai A. Mnangagwa and the Angel of Hope Foundation for implementing various humanitarian programmes and projects across the country, towards nurturing respect, discipline and greater appreciation of our culture and heritage, among the youth. Her work with regards to tourism and health advocacy is equally appreciated.”

Mnangagwa further noted that the country is proud of people, including Mbuya Nehada, who fought hard to liberate Zimbabwe from colonial rule.

He said, “Commemoration of our National Independence Day is in essence a celebration of the victory attained in the liberation struggle fought by our gallant sons and daughters of the soil. The importance of protecting the gains of this hard-won Independence can, therefore, not be over-emphasised. It, therefore, comes as a befitting honour to construct the iconic statue of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare.

“The monument will be a permanent reminder and towering statement of motivation for future generations on the importance of serving the country wholeheartedly and defending it with unflinching patriotism and loyalty. In the same tone, the Liberation War Museum will be constructed.”

On COVID-19, he hoped that the country’s vaccination program will be implemented according, noting that the vaccines being used in the country have been approved by the Medicines Control Council of Zimbabwe.

“Citizens are assured that the efficacy of the vaccines we have rolled out has been duly considered and approved by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe. I, therefore call upon the people of our great nation to go out in their numbers and get vaccinated. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

On Zimbabwe’s land reforms, Mnangagwa said the second republic won’t “betray that which made the many sons and daughters of our motherland to wage the protracted liberation struggle, paying the supreme sacrifice. We will always protect the significance and sacred spirituality of our land.

“Therefore, the signing of the Global Compensation Agreement on 29 July 2020 is a re-affirmation of the irreversibility of land as well as a symbol of our commitment to constitutionalism, the respect of the rule of law and property rights. As Zimbabweans, we must now all work together for increased production, productivity and profitability of the agriculture sector.”

He said following successive seasons of drought, it is encouraging that the 2020/2021 summer cropping season was characterized by normal to above normal rainfall.

“The swift implementation of the Presidential Climate Proofed Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme, Presidential Input Support Scheme, Command Agriculture, Presidential Horticulture Programme and respective initiatives by farmers have yielded commendable results. These interventions, coupled with timely provision of extension services, will see the country attain a bumper harvest this season.”

The president also noted that Treasury has set aside ZW$60 billion for the “timely payment” of farmers by the Grain Marketing Board. “The usual grain collection depots will be complemented by mobile and fixed collection points throughout the country.”

He revealed that government has introduced performance contracts for heads of ministries to ensure accountability, transparency and the speedy attainment of set targets.

“Performance contracts will also be rolled out to state enterprises, parastatals and local authorities. Meanwhile, government remains committed to improving the working conditions of its valued workers in the public sector.”

In line with section 212 of the Constitution, Mangagwa said, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, together with other members of the security sector, is commended for their vigilance and unwavering commitment to the protection of our national sovereignty, security, interests and territorial integrity.

“Under the National Development Strategy 1, our foreign policy remains deeply rooted and informed by our national interests and the Engagement and Re- engagement as well as the Pan-African ethos. My government is pursuing economic diplomacy for the advancement and economic prosperity of our country. Our arms remain outstretched to be a friend to all and an enemy of none, as we strive towards the realisation of a more peaceful, united and prosperous world.”

On the arts and recreation front, he said government is implementing the Cultural and Creative Industries Strategy in partnership with various stakeholders.

“Sports, arts, culture and other recreational activities contribute towards improved livelihoods, well-being, health, education, inclusion, peace and national cohesion. The country celebrates the notable milestones registered in the sporting fraternity, including repairs to the National Sports, Barbourfields and Sakubva Stadia; qualification by the National Soccer Team the Warriors to the 2022 African Cup of Nations, and the winning of the African Boxing Union title, among others. Stakeholders in the sporting sector are challenged to pursue innovative and robust methods of financing and development of the various sporting disciplines.

Mnangagwa said at continental level, Zimbabwe takes pride in having launched the Africa Fact Book, in September 2020, which is the first-ever publication that tells the African story from an African perspective. The country is also the home of the Museum of African Liberation.

The theme of this year’s independence celebrations is ‘Zimbabwe at 41: Together, Growing our Economy for a Prosperous, Resilient and Inclusive Society’.

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