Political party leaders must be exemplary
Address by His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa, at the launch of the National Political Actors Dialogue at the Harare International Conference Centre, 17 May , 2019
It is my singular honour and privilege to welcome you all to this wonderful occasion, as we witness the historic launch of our Political Actors Dialogue. This marks a significant landmark in the history of our great nation under the Second Republic and is unique in many ways, being the first of its kind for Zimbabwe.
The Dialogue we are launching today will undoubtedly leave a lasting imprint on our country’s political landscape and help contribute to the turnaround of our socio-economic fortunes. This platform is designed to be a vibrant forum through which we proffer solutions to the challenges that confront us as a nation, through peaceful, open and transparent discourse.
The culture of dialogue we begin today, must indeed be synonymous with us as nation and as a people. This journey we are embarking on, must ultimately lead us towards improving our democratic practices and culture. It must also lead us to a stage where we can compete and cooperate, always informed and guided by our national interests.
It will be recalled that during my Inauguration speech following the 30th July 2018 Harmonised General Elections, I emphasised that I am a listening President.
That pronouncement meant that I am committed to reach out to all stakeholders from every corner of the country, who are willing to join hands in the rebuilding of our great country. Every Zimbabwean is important from Zambezi to Limpopo and from Mutare to Plumtree. As we are enjoined by our National Anthem, let us all lift high our National Flag which is a symbol of freedom, independence and unity.
As leaders, we must also pledge to be exemplary. Leaders of our nation at every level, must say no to sanctions and say no to all conduct and speech that will bring harm to our people. It is when there is unity that God will command more blessings upon our land.
The vast potential that this country possesses through its rich natural and human capital endowments need to be harnessed by all of us working together; as we seek to accelerate the achievements of Vision 2030 towards attaining upper middle income status.
Through that vision, we should be able to bequeath to current and future generations, a peaceful, united and prosperous nation which lives in harmony with all the progressive nations of the world. Dialogue, like charity, begins at home, and will enable us to speak with one voice as the re-engagement with other nations gathers pace.
Fellow Zimbabweans, Distinguished Guests, Comrades and Friends;
History has proved that in order for a nation to meaningfully pursue its reform and transformation agenda, the energy that comes with electioneering must of necessity be re-directed to issues of national development over the period leading to the next election. It does not serve any purpose to continue in an election mode when citizens are yearning for socio-economic transformation.
The success of the Transnational Stabilisation Programme and indeed the success of the Five-Year Plans which will follow after 2020, requires that we harness our collective competencies and abilities for national progress and prosperity. We must close ranks, communicate, cooperate, build trust and instil hope among our fellow countrymen.
To that end, I am grateful to my colleague presidents of political parties and our dialogue co-conveners for exercising their minds in coming up with a Code of Conduct for dialogue participants. Essentially, the Code emphasises political tolerance and prohibits violence or the threat of the use of violence on fellow citizens as well as irresponsible utterances by any political leader.
At the end of my address, I shall request our co-conveners to lead the process of appending our signatures to the Code of Conduct as principals. The Code draws its content mainly from what I would term the Covenant, which bound us as contestants to uphold peace over the period leading to last year’s Harmonised General Elections. In a clear testimony of our mature democracy, those among you who were in the country can attest to the unprecedented tranquillity that prevailed in all corners of our great nation, ahead of the watershed elections. The Code shall be binding on the leaders, their officials and supporters alike, in the observance of responsible conduct as we cascade the dialogue to the provinces.
I want to take this opportunity to inform this gathering that the cascading of dialogue to the provinces is very much in consonance with the provision for devolution as enshrined in our Constitution, Chapter 14, Section 264. The objectives of the devolution are, and I quote, “to give powers of local governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions that affect them;
“And to preserve and foster the peace, national unity and indivisibility of Zimbabwe.”
In the interim, budgetary disbursements to the provinces to support devolution have already commenced in earnest, through local authorities which have an obligation to identify development projects and programmes in their areas with high potential to create jobs and generate revenue.
The model of provincial economies, into which this dialogue forum will feed, is intended to promote inclusive growth and equitable national development.
I am happy to inform this gathering that an elaborate institutional framework for dialogue has already been developed since the inception of dialogue meetings on 6th February and the subsequent formation of four thematic committees on February 22, 2019.
Our Committee on Agenda Setting has already highlighted critical issues, chief among them, being the need to expedite the alignment of laws to the Constitution.
The committee further stressed the need to resolutely stamp out corruption wherever it raises its ugly face; in the need to tackle drug and substance abuse, affecting especially our youths, and deepen the inclusion of youths, women and the disabled in all national development programmes.
The committee also called for the unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions that are sapping the energies of our otherwise resilient and resourceful citizenry as well as inhibiting unfettered economic growth.
Our Committee on Institutional Framework underscored the need to confine this dialogue platform to political parties which fielded Presidential candidates in the 2018 elections.
The idea was to demonstrate seriousness in finding lasting solutions to national issues. However, in view of the reality that the major concern is on the need for economic resuscitation which cannot be solved by political parties alone; it has therefore been agreed that other stakeholders who are deemed essential, can always be invited to participate in the dialogue.
Finally, the Committee on Implementation and Evaluation shall be tasked with tracking the performance of the other committees and recommend necessary remedial measures.
On behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, let me take this opportunity once again to accord special recognition to all members of the diplomatic corps who have spared time to grace this momentous launch. I want to assure you that the reform path for Zimbabwe will be resolutely pursued, and also to thank their governments for continuing to render invaluable humanitarian support to those of our communities who are recovering from the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai. We shall forever cherish their deep compassion.
Fellow Zimbabweans, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Let us all come to the big tent of unity, love, peace and harmony, as we develop our country for the benefit of present and future generations.
I particularly want to appeal to our brothers and sisters from the media to play a constructive role in our dialogue, nation building and other critical national processes. In all mature democracies the world over, the media is a critical partner in nation building. The media must, therefore, resist the temptation to be a vehicle for sowing seeds of division and despondency amongst the citizenry.
In the Second Republic, let us collectively inculcate the culture of unity, peace, discipline, productivity and hard honest work.
We must continue to apply our minds, our time and resources to build the Zimbabwe we all want, brick upon brick, in our quest to become a middle income economy by 2030. Prosperity of our great nation is inevitable. Peace, unity, love and harmony among our people is achievable .The time is now!
With these remarks, it is my honour and privilege to declare the Political Actors Dialogue officially launched.
I now invite our dialogue co-conveners to administer the signing of the Code of Conduct that shall, henceforth, govern the conduct of political leaders participating in our National Dialogue.
God bless you all!
God bless Zimbabwe!
I thank you