Address by His Excellency the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on the occasion of the Zimbabwe National Heroes Day commemorations
I am honoured to join the nation today as we commemorate our National Heroes Day. This is indeed a solemn day when we remember and celebrate the illustrious sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who paid the supreme sacrifice for the liberation of our motherland.
We salute, honour and pay high tribute to them for their resolute defiance against colonial oppression. Their bravery, courage and valour must serve as an inspiration and encouragement to us all as we journey towards a better and brighter Zimbabwe.
Let us honour their sacred sacrifice and rich heritage of gallantry they left for us by pledging to put our country first before self-interest or self-ambition.
Let us vow to keep our land from foes, strengthened by the struggles and achievements of the past, conscious of what must be accomplished now and in the future. I urge us, therefore, wherever we may be, to build on this great legacy. Present and future generations must be brave and proud protectors of that heritage, lest we forget.
We remember them individually and collectively for fighting gallantly.
As we do so, we are aware that they received immense support from the international community for us to attain our Independence. We honour their sacrifice and express our eternal gratitude. We also recognise and honour all those ordinary everyday heroes and heroines; the villagers, men, women, boys and girls who contributed in their own ways, towards the liberation war effort.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends;
The experience of war makes people value peace all the more. As such, the defence of the peace and stability we enjoy today is paramount and must be undertaken with valour and vigilance.
These heroes and heroines at this shrine and others at marked and unmarked graves, gave their lives to uphold this peace, unity, freedom, justice and independence.
Let us honour them by dedicating ourselves to peace.
Violence, discord, disunity, hatred, divisions, discrimination, tribalism, regionalism and corruption must be rejected as having no place in the new Zimbabwe.
Mutual respect, love, equality, peace, commitment, loyalty, cooperation and harmony must now be the order of the day. These values are engraved in our nationhood and indeed are an indispensable trait in our DNA.
For this reason, violence must continue to be shunned and rejected.
Instead dialogue and constructive engagement must be promoted as the centrepiece of national development.
Under the Second Republic, let us all be determined to rekindle and permanently entrench that important national character and identity.
The baton is now with us, we must not be found wanting in the present battle for economic progress and prosperity. We must run the good race and fight the good fight.
Long live our heroes and heroines! Long live Zimbabwe!
Comrades and Friends;
The national economic prosperity and progress we seek requires dedicated effort, hard work and unflinching loyalty and patriotism, one generation after another. Allow me on that note to express my profound gratitude to all Zimbabwean for their patience and resilience, often against incredible odds, during this period of reform processes. These economic reforms are necessary to right size the economy and reset it for sustainable economic development. Going forward, my Government is now concentrating on increasing production efficiencies across all the sectors of the economy starting with agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy. This will be followed by the mining sector, which is the main foreign exchange earner for the country.
It is against this background that despite the natural calamities caused by the current drought, Government has put in place measures to ensure a more reliable supply of electricity to support the requirements of our economy. As we commence the preparations for the forthcoming agriculture season, the uninterrupted availability of electricity should enable growers to increase their purchase of seed to produce more tobacco for this season
While wheat farmers were severely affected by the shortages of electricity, the improved supplies should ensure that the remaining hectarage is well-irrigated to enhance yields.
Preparations for the rest of the agricultural products should also begin in earnest.
We must all work hard to increase agriculture productivity across all crops so that we guarantee national food self-sufficiency, nutrition and increase export earnings from the sector.
I wish to once again assure all our citizens that no one will die of hunger.
Grain distribution points have been established in all remote areas of the country so that vulnerable communities can access grain as near to them as possible.
This ongoing drought and its impact serve as a potent reminder of the fact that climate change is a distinct reality.
Going forward, my Government will implement comprehensive strategies to mitigate our country’s exposure to the vagaries of the ever changing weather patterns. I commend members of the international community and partners who have made generous pledges towards our food relief efforts.
Similarly, the mining, manufacturing and commerce sectors of the economy should now drive production to the fullest.
I am pleased to highlight the commendable progress that the banking sector has achieved on the interbank foreign exchange market. To date, the interbank trades average around US$5 million per day. We expect this to continue to increase on account of further liberalisation put in place by the Reserve Bank on the operations of bureau de change outlets.
However we are aware that our people, especially those in rural areas, are facing difficulties in transacting owing to cash shortages. This transient challenge will be addressed more decisively in the very near future.
I wish to once again urge all citizens to deal honestly and honourably in the conduct of all our affairs.
Sustainable economic prosperity will only be achieved through hard work. To this end, there is no short cut.
The re-engagement programme and our investment promotion drive are yielding notable results. The investment drive will receive further impetus upon the full operationalisation of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.
The national heroes and heroines we celebrate and remember today fought for the land, that which is on it and all that which is under it.
In the mining sector, we continue to receive investments by way of expansion of existing projects, exploration, the opening up of new mines as well as mineral beneficiation.
The tourism sector is experiencing steady growth. The expansion of our tourism products, protection and preservation of wildlife, flora and fauna will remain a priority.
The growth of a sustainable wild life economy and elimination of human-wildlife conflict are areas my administration is diligently pursuing.
We shall continue to implement robust and responsive infrastructure development programmes with regards to transport, energy, water and sanitation infrastructure as well as housing construction. Road construction projects across the country are steadily progressing.
The recently opened Walvis Bay Dry Port offers Zimbabwe plenty of opportunities, enhanced options and access to direct shipping routes on the Atlantic Ocean. This development must be leveraged to accelerate the modernisation, mechanisation and retooling of our agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Quality, affordable and accessible public services are integral indicators in our quest to achieve Vision 2030.
The ongoing modernisation reforms in the healthcare sector will see quality and affordable health delivery services to all our people throughout the country. To date, we have re-equipped central hospitals.
Furthermore, my Government will increase the training and recruitment of health personnel so that all our hospitals and clinics are adequately manned by skilled personnel.
Allow me to pay special tribute to various partners and friends of Zimbabwe, such as the United Arab Emirates and India, who are assisting us in overhauling our health delivery system.
My Government shall continue to put in place the requisite safety nets to protect vulnerable members of society. To this end, affordable transport services such as the ZUPCO buses, will continue to be rolled out for both urban and rural areas for the convenience and more affordable movements of our people.
Comrades and Friends;
The on-going devolution programme is being accelerated. I call upon our people from the ward level right to the provinces to take full advantage of this new policy thrust and promote locally-driven development to empower and improve the quality of the life of our people at the grass root level.
In this implementation of devolution, let us always remember that Zimbabwe is a Unitary State.
We are one people, one nation from Zambezi to Limpopo; from Plumtree to Mutare: from Beitbridge to Chirundu, we are one. This is what our heroes and heroines fought for.
Let us protect and preserve our unity, our peace and the indivisibility of our great country. Let me take this opportunity to thank our workers as a whole for their patience and understanding of the challenges facing our economy.
Access to higher and tertiary learning institutions shall be enhanced.
Greater focus is now on the development of skills and competences which encourage innovation and the modernisation and industrialisation of every sector of our economy.
The education system must speak and respond to the everyday needs of our people as well as improve our country’s competitiveness in the global value chains.
My Government remains committed to ensuring that the women, youth and people living with disabilities are adequately catered for.
We shall scale up the availability of skills training centres such as vocational training centres.
The centrality of information communication technologies requires constant upgrading of infrastructure and the expansion of connectivity.
The setting up of additional base stations targeting mostly rural areas is ongoing. Our Constitution recognises the need for us to accord due respect to the veterans of our liberation struggle and this is guaranteed by my Government. The preservation and protection of our national liberation war heritage will also incorporate the proper maintenance of all liberation memorial sites.
Under the Second Republic, my administration recognises that weak institutions and restricted access to justice will deprive opportunities to our people and undermine the delivery of public services and broader economic development.
We shall continue to protect our Independence, freedom, justice and democracy which our departed heroes fought for, by accelerating efforts to consolidate constitutionalism, the rule of law as well as strengthening institutions that support democracy. We will, with greater resolve, protect constitutionally enshrined rights, fully cognisant, however, of the fact that the enjoyment of such rights is not absolute.
Our efforts to turn around the economy will remain underpinned by a spirited campaign to eradicate the pervasive vice of corruption.
As I have repeatedly stated, this campaign will be waged relentlessly and without fear or favour. It is commendable that the newly-reconstituted Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has embarked on its assignment with promising clarity and focus
I wish to conclude by appealing to you all, including those in the Diaspora, to draw inspiration from the heroes and heroines by building bridges of unity, peace, freedom, patriotism and economic prosperity.
God Almighty gave us only one Zimbabwe and it is our duty and responsibility to build our country through both our words and deeds.
Lest we forget, the Zimbabwe our heroes fought for and the one we want to see, is without doubt, one that is peaceful, united, prosperous, co-existing in harmony with its neighbours and all of the peace-loving people of the world.
As I alluded to above, austerity measures we have undertaken are certainly necessary to guarantee sustainable development and prosperity for our country. To desire quick-fix manoeuvres neglecting fundamentals will be grossly dishonest and a betrayal to the future prospects of our children.
I, thus, wish to thank all our people for their resilience and to further urge them to bear with us as we complete this crucial phase of our policy reforms. Together and with unity of purpose, we shall succeed.
I wish also to applaud my brothers and sisters, fellow leaders of political parties, and the broad array of stakeholders who have embraced the call for dialogue and conversations towards the rebuilding of our great country.
Those we are remembering today played their part in the liberating us from the colonial bondage. Let us unite and usher our people to a better and prosperous future.
Together in unity, we will make Zimbabwe great.
God bless you all!
God Bless Zimbabwe!
I thank you!