Address by His Excellency
on the Commemoration of Heroes Day National Heroes Acre, 8th August 2011.
Honourable Vice President, Mai Joice Mujuru and General Solomon Mujuru,
Honourable Vice President, Comrade John Landa Nkomo,
Honourable Prime Minister, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Arthur Mutambara and Amai Mutambara,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Thokozani Khupe,
Honourable President of the Senate, Mai Edna Madzongwe,
The Chief Justice, Honourable Godfrey Chidyausiku,
War Veterans, Detainees, Restrictees and Collaborators,
Members of Parliament,
His Worship the Mayor of Harare Mr Muchadeyi Masunda,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Families of Heroes of Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle,
Ladies and Gentleman,
Comrades and Friends
Every year, on this day, which falls in August, our nation gathers in one accord, at this sacred National Shrine and others across the country, to remember and pay tribute to the heroes of the liberation struggle who won for is the freedom and independence we celebrate in April.
Today, as we remember the immense sacrifices of our heroes we also celebrate their courage and bravery in confronting the Settler colonial enemy.
We celebrate with mixture of both pride and nostalgia, our dear departed and living heroes whose enduring courage blood and suffering enabled us to reclaim our cherished land, our national heritage, freedom, sovereignty and independence.
Whilst we salute these gallant sons and daughters of the soil, our experience with the enemy has taught us the fundamental lesson of unity in defending our national heritage and vigilance in guarding our freedom and cultural values.
As we gather here today, let no man or woman, dream that they can dismantle these formidable foundations forged on the anvil of the armed liberation struggle, and for which our people perished during the liberation struggle waged twice by our heroes, the first in 1896-1897 and the second in 1967-1980.
Today, however, the main struggle is a socio-economic one of improving the standards of living of our people as Government continues to direct its efforts towards continued economic recovery. As part of these efforts, Government having successfully implemented the Short Term Emergency Recovery Policy (STERP) has now adopted the Macro-Economic Policy and Budget Framework (2010-2012) in order to hasten the turnaround of the economy.
The recent launch by Government of the Medium Term Plan (MTP) (2011-2015), should ensure not only the consolidation of the macro-economic stability so far achieved, but also the sustenance of our development thrust.
Today, due to the hard work of all Zimbabweans and development partners, we enjoy a very low inflation rate. Our economic growth rate is also higher than the regional average. These economic indicators bode well for rapid economic growth and employment creation, as confidence in the economy continues to grow on the back of increasing investment.
However, it is fundamentally important to recognise that stability and rapid economic progress of a country cannot be achieved unless there is peace in the country. The promotion of a culture of sustainable peace in the country is of utmost importance to our nation.
The Organ for National Healing Reconciliation and Integration thus remains a critical institution for ensuring a framework for lasting peace and sustainable development. We are happy that significant progress is being realised towards creating a more tolerant and more peace loving society.
It is the responsibility of all political parties, civil society, religious groups and churches, local authorities, the corporate sector, workers organisations and all other institutions, to work hard for peace and the social cohesion of the nation as a whole.
Even as we prepare for the coming National Elections, our political environment should remain peaceful stable and people friendly.
Let us closely guard ourselves against the divisive antics of neo-colonialism, which is persistently rearing its ugly head in our midst and employing devilish tactics to sow seeds of discontent and disharmony amongst our people so that they turn against each other.
This is not only a deliberate ploy to format political instability and derail our development, but it is also is a well orchestrated move designed to undermine the basics and pillars of our nation by destroying the very foundation of the liberation struggle we are celebrating today.
The impact of the illegal economic sanctions imposed by some Western countries, assisted by their proxies, to advance their regime change agenda continues negatively to undermine our economy in its various sectors.
We call upon those who have imposed these illegal punitive sanctions to remove them forthwith. We reiterate that we cannot continue to receive the battering of sanctions without hitting back. Let them heed this warning!
The on-going Constitution making process, which is in its final stage, should give full meaning to our freedom by consolidating conditions necessary for development under a peaceful environment.
In particular, it should empower Zimbabweans to unequivocally assert their sovereign right over the ownership, control and use of their God-given resources for the benefit of all our citizenry.
Government’s continuing focus on the productive sectors of agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism is intended to grow the economy by intensifying value addition activities that will improve the competitiveness of the country with its trading partners.
The infrastructure sector also offers many investment opportunities in power, water, roads, rail, Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s) and telecommunications, and the social sectors of health and education which, despite resources constraints, will continue to receive due attention of Government.
Given the broad range of investment opportunities, domestic and foreign investors are not only invited to invest in sectors of their choice but also do so through the medium of Public Private Partnerships and joint ventures.
The empowerment agenda remains central to Government’s priorities. In this regard, resettled farmers, and in particular A1 and communal farmers, are the targeted benefices of Government subsidies input programmes to enable them to timeously prepare for the cropping season so as to increase productivity.
The subsidised inputs programme will be extended to A2 commercial farmers depending on the availability of resources at Government’s disposal.
Government will continue to look for resources to support farmers with critical inputs, including those for purposes of irrigation development, modernisation and mechanisation of agriculture.
The right of sovereign ownership of our resources must find expression in various projects and programmes under the Indeginisation and Economic Empowerment Act, prioritising at the same time the promotion of small to medium scale enterprises as drivers of economic growth.
Government will also ensure that the operation of Indeginisation and Economic Empowerment Act will be to the mutual benefit of both indigenous entrepreneurs and other investors.
The low remuneration levels of workers, who include civil servants and who are struggling to meet their daily needs, are a major concern.
Government is therefore continuously looking for ways of reviewing salaries and conditions of service so that they become attractive, and are in line with the improving economy. Measures are also being taken to review pensions to protect pensioners.
As Government pursues various initiatives to cushion vulnerable groups in our society, the National Heroes Dependents Assistance Fund will continue to be reviewed in order to provide a decent life to the surviving spouses and minor children of deceased heroes. Although the provision of social services has improved tremendously as evidenced by the enhanced level of social services delivery particularly in health, education and social amenities, Government however, recognises the challenges still faced by ordinary citizens in accessing these basic services.
Appropriate intervening will continue to be taken where necessary. These include the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) in education and free anti-retroviral treatment to mitigate the scourge of the HIV and Aids pandemic.
Zimbabwe’s historic struggle for self-determination would be incompetent without mentioning the support rendered by various countries.
As we take time to pay homage to our heroes, let is also recognise the critical part played by our neighbouring countries in SADC and beyond.
Internationally, a number of countries have stood firm behind Zimbabwe at the time of our greatest need, among which were our well-weather friends, China, Russia and Cuba, who have always stood firmly in defence of Zimbabwe’s sovereign rights.
Finally, allow me to pay tribute to our defence, police, prison, and security services for their unflinching, relentless and dedicated service in guaranteeing and maintaining peace, stability and the security of our free sovereign Zimbabwe.
This is the role that history has given to them and we ate grateful that they have performed that role in an honourable way.
Comrades and Friends, before we depart from this sacred Shrine, let us re-dedicate ourselves to work harder, in our various spheres of life, to engender tolerance and peace among our people and every day to remember there is a oneness that binds us as Zimbabweans.
This is a pledge of unity in diversity and peace forever.
I thank you.