‘We’re one, we remain one people’

25 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
‘We’re one, we remain one people’ President Mnangagwa

The Herald

Address by President Mnangagwa on the occasion of Africa Day commemorations

Fellow Zimbabweans and fellow Africans, it is my great honour to address you as we commemorate Africa Day. 

On this occasion, we celebrate the fraternal unity, solidarity and Pan-African spirit that have seen our continent realise great milestones in the fight against colonialism since the founding of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963, now the African Union.

It is this unshakeable tradition of solidarity which saw our country, Zimbabwe, along with others on the African continent, attaining the independence, freedom, self-determination and democracy we enjoy to this day.

The celebration of African Unity must, therefore, remind us on the continent and those African communities in the Diaspora, that; despite the colonial boundaries that separate us, despite our ethnic differences and varied languages and customs as wells as the differences in our political and economic realities, we are one.

We are born of the same African consciousness and remain united towards the common future as encapsulated in the African Union Agenda 2063.

As we mark this year’s commemorations, we remember the lives and contributions of the sons and daughters of Africa, including former Presidents and Heads of State of our continent who sadly passed away in the recent past.

These illustrious sons of the African soil include the late former President Kenneth Kaunda, former President Mwai Kibaki, and former President Rupiah Banda, among many others on the continent and in the Diaspora, who contributed to the liberation, freedom, economic emancipation of Africa. 

May their souls rest in eternal peace.

Fellow sons and daughters of Africa; 

The importance of anchoring our continental socio-economic and political development trajectory on the adage “African solutions to African problems” cannot be over emphasised.

As Zimbabwe, we are emboldened by the vision for a modern, industrialised and prosperous African society that effectively plays its part within the comity of nations. Injustices and all superiority complexes, under any pretext whatsoever, have no place in the world today.

We, thus, continue to advocate for equality, dignity and the inalienable right to chart our own socio-economic developmental path as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. 

The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of our countries, must be respected. As the people of this great African continent, we must enjoy the rights guaranteed to each and every citizen of the world.

Zimbabwe condemns both subtle and brute practices of racism and we call for the end of racial prejudices in all its forms, based on the principles of the fundamental equality of all the races.

We are committed to playing our part in the world in order to eliminate of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related injustices.

In unity and singleness of purpose, let us draw from our collective traits as an African people, confident that we are a knowledgeable, competent, industrious people, capable of achieving great exploits.

We can build and undertake everything for the growth and prosperity of our countries, cities, industries, mines and agriculture.

We are well able and entitled to own and control the rich natural resource endowments in our countries, for a higher quality of life of the peoples of our continent and building the Africa we all want.

As we do so, African institutions must be persistently strengthened in the wake of present challenges, threats, opportunities and other global shocks.

The ongoing establishment and strengthening of our African institutions to handle African problems, is a commendable and a declaration of our unwavering unity and solidarity.

Zimbabwe applauds the Africa Centres for Disease Control for its work towards mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other diseases on our continent.

We further welcome the establishment of the African Medicines Agency. The Agency will undoubtedly facilitate quick and reliable access to safe, effective and quality-assured medicines towards the realisation of Universal Health Coverage for the people of our continent. 

In the spirit of greater collaboration and need to address present and future pandemics, my Government stands ready to play its part towards the efficacy of our continent’s health delivery system.

Fellow Zimbabweans;

The 2022 theme of the African Union: “Strengthening Nutrition and Food Security on the Continent; Strengthening Agro-food systems, health and social protection systems for the acceleration of human, social and economic capital development”, is an important reminder of the need to comprehensively attend to the welfare of our people and realise development that leaves no one and no place behind.

Greater efforts must be made for Africa to increase agricultural productivity, upscale the value addition of agriculture products, while addressing agriculture infrastructure gaps. 

Climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as hedging against global shocks remain critical for assured food security in our country and on the continent. We must produce what we eat.

As such, my Government is accelerating multi-pronged and inclusive programmes with cross cutting linkages in the agriculture sector, industrial development, climate change adaptation and health, social protection and human capital development.

Greater efforts must be made for Africa to increase agricultural productivity, upscale the value addition of agriculture products, while addressing agriculture infrastructure gaps. 

Climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as hedging against global shocks remain critical for assured food security in our country and on the continent. 

Guided by the ideals of Pan-Africanism, Zimbabwe is also making rapid strides towards regional and continental integration. 

To date, my Government is implementing robust co-operation within SADC and COMESA by prioritising cross border projects to improve road networks, water, energy and ICT infrastructure, among others. 

By encouraging such systems and infrastructure across strategic areas of Africa, we should knit our continent into a tapestry of free-trading, free-travelling, and free-living peoples. The Fourth Industrial Revolution and digitisation has ushered in a new era of economic development. 

As a continent, we will not be left behind but ride the innovation revolution to leapfrog the modernisation and industrialisation of the continent, leveraging on our youth dividend.

The current crop of African leaders is committed to support the young people of our continent to effectively contribute to Africa’s modernisation, industrialisation, transformation, development and prosperity. I, thus, challenge the youth of our great continent to claim their space particularly in the digital and innovation revolution. Riding on our rich heritage based knowledge systems, I further call upon the young people of Zimbabwe to establish high-tech companies and start-ups to develop “Made in Africa” and “Made in Zimbabwe” products and services that address the needs of Africa and the world at large. 

The education sector, media and the creative cultural industries must be deployed as instruments to reinforce African pride, identity and strengthen Africa’s voice across the world.

Similarly, cultural exchanges of students, artistes, traders and holiday-makers should see our people criss-crossing Africa as ambassadors of goodwill helping to produce a sense of oneness, which permeates and crystallises our common identity. The African Diaspora is an integral and inseparable part of us. 

Their skills and competencies must be harnessed for the good of our great continent. After all, this was the vision of the luminaries and Founding Fathers of our continent.

Fellow Africans; 

Despite the notable strides made to date, it is regrettable that guns are still to be silenced in some parts of Africa. 

The emergence and spread of terrorism, along with other non-traditional and destabilising factors also remain worrisome. The values of unity, love, harmony, dignity and respect for each other are a fundamental character of the peoples of our great continent of Africa and must guide our peace building frameworks and conflict prevention initiatives.

Mechanisms and early warning systems to avert the eruption of violent conflicts must be pursued with a greater sense of urgency.

Additionally, the African Standby Force must be urgently operationalised towards the realisation of “African solutions to African problems”.

Meanwhile, the consolidation and entrenchment of the culture of democracy, good governance, justice and equality, bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers, must remain the priority of all governments. Zimbabwe will continue playing its part for the realisation of peace, security and stability on our continent.

As we commemorate and celebrate the unity of our continent, I once again call for the unconditional removal of the illegal, unjust, spiteful, and deleterious sanctions imposed on our country. 

Sanctions have no place in modern international relations and are a violation of the human rights of the people of our country. Zimbabwe is committed to be a friend to all and an enemy to none.

Fellow Zimbabweans and Fellow Africans;

Inspired by the ever-shining spirit of Pan-Africanism and the lessons from our forbears; as Sons and Daughters of Africa, let us collectively work harder, with focus and determination to uphold the bonds that frame our destiny, and continue make our countries and Africa, the tree of life. 

Together in unity, we are building the Africa we want.

The winter season is now upon us and there are indications that another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is imminent. I, therefore, urge all those who are yet to be vaccinated to go and get vaccinated. Those who have since received their two jabs are encouraged to go and get the third booster shot. 

Let us all continue properly wearing our masks, sanitising and maintaining social distance.

With these remarks, I wish you all joyful Africa Day commemorations.

Long Live African freedom and solidarity.

Long Live the vision of our Founding Fathers.

God Bless Africa.

I thank you!

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