Address by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, His Excellency, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa, at the meeting with War Veterans, Harare, 11th May, 2018
Vice President and Second Secretary, Cde C. G. N. Chiwenga
Vice President and Second Secretary, Cde K. C. D. Mohadi in absentia
National Chairman of the Party, Cde O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri,
Chairman of the War Veterans’ Association, Cde C. Mutsvangwa
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great honour and pleasure to be addressing this historic revolutionary gathering of veterans of our liberation struggle following my ascendancy to the leadership of our party, ZANU-PF, and my in inauguration as the President of our great Republic. Today as we meet. I recognise that this is not a meeting between President and Patron, but most importantly between, comrades, cadres brothers and sisters who responded to the conviction those many years ago to go to unknown foreign lands, prepared to pay the protracted struggle for the liberation of our country.
I stand before you fully cognisant that I am a fellow comrade, freedom fighter with no superior endowments than any of us except that I have been chosen by the people of Zimbabwe as their President, at this moment in time. I am a servant of the people, your servant, a listening President.
Allow me, therefore to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude for the support that I have received from you to date. The task before us is to rebuild our economy, re-align our politics with current imperatives, without deviating from the founding principles of our party and revolution as well as chart a better future for the next generations. This will, however, never be accomplished by one person or a few select group of people but must involve all Zimbabweans, no matter their tribe, status or gender.
As we do so, we must recommit ourselves to the rule of law and constitutionalism as an indispensable means of governance. For if the rule of law prevails, then the country benefits; if it fails, the country suffers. Furthermore, when the rule of law is valued and thrives, a nation is stable and its people are content; when, however, it is neglected and weak, a country will fall into chaos and its people become discontent.
I, thus, commend you fellow Comrades for your embedded sense of justice, which dates back to the liberation struggle, and as such, you boldly defended the Constitution by fervently resisting the devious machinations of the G40 cabal.
Going forward, I urge all of us to inculcate the same vigilance and astuteness to the younger generations of our nation. Let it be known by everyone throughout the country that the fundamental code of all our activities is the Constitution. Let us heed the call by the national anthem, and raise our flag high, remembering the sacrifices of our brothers, sisters and comrades. Let us resolve to defend the country and work hard for the benefit of all its people, now and in the future.
Let the challenges, indiscipline and excesses that we experienced during the period of State capture by the G40 cabal, never again revisit our great nation. We all have a duty to uphold and safeguard the sanctity of the Constitution and ensure its enforcement. No organisation or individual has the right to overstep the Constitution or the law. We must therefore as veterans of the struggle in particular, and the nation at large, work tirelessly to ensure that the Constitution is enforced and that its full implementation is raised to a new standard. We cannot change the past, but the present and future are in our hands for us to shape.
Comrades, it is against the background of the letter, spirit and principles of our country Constitution that we must dialogue today. We are all aware that in the recent past, our revolution and the aspirations we had as a people had been hijacked and headed for shipwreck. However, now we must look forward with great optimism. It is our responsibility to re-ignite the hope and dreams of our countrymen. We must not fail or betray the hopes of our comrades who sacrificed their lives during the armed revolution of our country.
We must desire to take every opportunity to re-inculcate the values of discipline, unity, peace, love and the zeal to develop among the younger generations. As we do so, let us be patient with them, aware that theirs is a generation that was hardened by the hardships we faced during the 18 years of economic sanctions. Let us encourage them to think big and work hard, for indeed tomorrow is brighter.
I am aware that there are various issues that were raised between your meeting with our former president and patron, Cde R. G. Mugabe on 7th April 2016. I am also aware that the bulk of the critical issues remain unattended. Let me assure you that my Government is committed to fulfilling its obligation to our veterans and ensuring that you enjoy a life of dignity with the appropriate provisions befitting your status as our great heroes.
The resolution that you have made today resonates with the brief submitted to me by the Department of War Veterans within the Ministry of Defence and the Department of War Veterans in the party. My Government has already made a decision to increase the allowances and pensions for all veterans and put in place the requisite safety nets to cushion you with regard to your daily needs such as health care, timely disbursement of school fees for your children among other requirements.
We take note of the requests which relate to empowerment programmes in the various sectors of the economy such as mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. In this regard, allow me to commend the war veterans who have continued to excel in the various sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining and business in general. We applaud and congratulate you for being living examples of what can be achieved through hard work and determination.
I urge all of us to take advantage of Government programmes such as Command Agriculture, small-scale mining facilities, SME loans, among others, to empower ourselves and grow our businesses. My Government will continue to support you fellow comrades in all your empowerment endeavours, more so as the economy grows and resources become more available.
Since my inauguration, my Government has gone on an aggressive drive to resuscitate the economy through various comprehensive multi-pronged strategies. To this end, reform measures have been put in place to increase the viability and competitiveness of businesses across all sectors.
In addition, my administration recognised the need to attract both domestic and foreign investments as a means to leapfrog our economy to catch up with other industrialised economies in Africa and the developed world. We have further set ourselves on a course to have Zimbabwe become a middle-income country with a per capita income of USD3 500 by 2030, with decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, increased investments, free from poverty and corruption.
Thus, strategies are in motion to ensure the resuscitation, retooling, expansion and modernisation of various industries, agriculture, mining and manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure development, ICT and the financial services sectors. Under the mantra, “Zimbabwe is open for business”, we are robustly engaging and re-engaging with the outside world for strategic investments and win-win collaboration and partnerships. I am confident that these efforts will result in increased Foreign Direct Investment into our economy which will in turn lead to a growing economy and improved quality of life of all our citizens.
To date, we are pleased that we have received over 11 billion dollars of FDI commitments into our economy. Furthermore, my Government continues to receive massive investment inquiries and injections into the mining, infrastructure, agriculture, energy and tourism sectors.
On the domestic front, we have resolved as Cabinet to reform various State-owned enterprises and parastatals to ensure that they meaningfully contribute to the growth of the economy. These reforms will see some institutions being merged, disbanded or privatised. Equally important in the business reform agenda is the need to attend to governance issues and stop the culture of rogue work practices which encourage rent seeking tendencies, breed corruption and stifle business growth and investments.
Let me take this opportunity to re-assure you, fellow comrades that, in all these endeavours, my Government will always remain alive to the need to protect and guard our sovereignty and national interest. All that my Government will do, in every corner of our guest country; for indeed that is why we took up arms and fought for our liberation.
In a few weeks, we will be holding our harmonised general elections. Our party is ours together, you and I have a huge responsibility, which we are obligated by our party constitution. We must be loyal to the party, spread and popularise our party policies and principles without flinching or swerving. Ours is to toe the party line, cognisant of the immense responsibility to defend our national heritage and chart a definite, successful and prosperous future, not only for our party, but all multitudes of people throughout the country.
I, thus, exhort us to go out, full throttle, in our huge numbers and campaign for a thunderous victory for our party. During the liberation struggle we were like fish, and the people the sea. In that fashion, let us go forth in our campaign with women, youth and their affiliates; let us go out with business, small and medium enterprises, students, informal traders, farmers and miners.
Let us not forget the media fraternity, workers, hairdressers and our cross-border traders, among others. The task to rebuild our country is for all of us Zimbabweans together; to do so we must win the hearts and minds of our populace.
As we campaign, I urge us all to preach and live in unity, peace and love. As you are aware, these elections will be observed by international observers, I appeal to all of our people to show them the great Zimbabwean hospitality and that, indeed, our democracy has come of age. We are united by our national anthem and flag. Aluta continua. Victory is certain.
I thank you!
God Bless Zimbabwe!