Independence Day speech by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, 18th April, 2019
I welcome you all who are gathered here to celebrate our 39th Independence Anniversary. I also extend a warm welcome to the multitudes assembled at various venues throughout Zimbabwe and those compatriots following this event via different media platforms.
This is a joyous day for all of us, as one nation, one people! Congratulations Zimbabwe, Makorokoto, Amhlophe! Long live Zimbabwe. God Bless Zimbabwe!
No matter where you are, today we celebrate our Independence Day, we celebrate our land and our people. Our freedom, independence and the proud heritage left for us by our departed heroes and heroines who paid the supreme sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy today.
We have within our blood, the traits of bravery, valour and resilience passed on to us by generation upon generation of our departed.
As we reflect on the path we have walked and the road ahead, we must draw lessons from the actions of our freedom fighters and the principles that guided them.
Over the years, through sweat, struggle and tribulations we have survived and never surrendered or lost our hope.
Today as we celebrate the birth of our nation, let us honour the values that underpin it. These values must drive us forward. We can no longer afford to be concerned with mere survival. Let us instead seek to blossom, thrive and prosper as a nation, as a people, towards a brighter future in the Zimbabwe we all want.
We celebrate our Independence anniversary under a heavy cloud of grief and sorrow due to the Cyclone Idai disaster. The cyclone has indeed left a grievous scar which will be with us for long time to come.
We mourn with the governments and the people of the sisterly republics of Mozambique and Malawi who also lost precious lives due to Cyclone Idai.
I would like to once again thank the nation for the collective response to Cyclone Idai and the generous contributions to the relief efforts.
The exceptional display of gallantry, compassion, patriotism and corporate responsibility exhibited by various stakeholders is proof that if we are united in love and common purpose, nothing can prevail against us in nation building and reconstruction.
I particularly thank our brothers and sisters in Mozambique for according dignity to the remains of our people who were swept onto their territory. Similarly, I wish to extend our profound appreciation to the Heads of State and Government of SADC and Africa in general, for their love and tremendous support.
Our heartfelt gratitude also goes to Heads of State and Government, the United Nations family and other distinguished dignitaries from the broader international community for their overwhelming support, goodwill and selfless generosity during our time of loss and need.
I wish to, however, mention in particular countries like China, UAE, USA, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa and many others who donated several quantities of medicines, tents, food and non-food items. This proves that we remain one big family, despite our distinct geographical locations.
Let us consolidate our hard-won independence through disciplined focus on the development of the economy and improvements in the quality of life of all our people.
For Zimbabwe to prosper and attain Vision 2030, we need the collective efforts of all citizens at home and abroad. While our friends and investors may assist us, the ultimate obligation to turn around our fortunes lies with us, using our own God-given natural endowments and abilities.
To this end, my administration continues to engage a broad spectrum of our society to help sharpen Government's perspective on issues across the socio-economic and political spectrum. This inclusive approach will enable us to accelerate the pace of the modernisation and industrialisation of our country.
The implementation of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, has since gathered momentum.
My Government remains committed to address distortions in all sectors of the economy. We have made an upward review of producer prices of maize, soyabeans, wheat and cotton. Wheat supplies are set to improve, while the establishment of small-scale bakeries will be facilitated to enhance more affordable bread prices.
The setting up of Silo Foods Company will further see increased availability and affordability of many basic commodities throughout the country.
In the fuel sector, we are adopting long- term strategies to stabilise both the availability and pricing of the product. The introduction of a market-based exchange rate system is expected to stabilise the economy, in the long run.
However, Government is alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminant increases of prices which has brought about untold suffering to the people. This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, and unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue which the Second Republic has espoused. Government remains determined to restore the purchasing power of all workers.
I want to once again reassure our citizens that the Land Reform Programme is irreversible. We fought for the land and we will never ever regret taking back our land. Neither will we ever betray our fellow comrades who paid the supreme sacrifice for this land and now lie buried in marked and unmarked graves within our borders and beyond.
Our Constitution binds us to compensation in respect to improvements effected on the land before acquisition. This will be done as and when resources are available.
Legacy issues related to the programme such as multiple farm ownership, disregard for maximum farm size, allocation of grazing land and unclear boundaries among others, must be addressed head on, without fear or favour.
The Land Audit Report is expected to help return order in this respect. Where possible, some of those still in need of land will be considered thereafter.
In view of the centrality of agriculture as a key sector in stimulating the modernisation and industrialisation of our economy; my administration is now focusing on unlocking value from the land and ensuring maximum productivity.
Foremost in this regard is the need to provide security of tenure, facilitate access to capital for farmers and generate sufficient raw materials for the revival and growth of the industrial sector.
The negative impact of climate change entails that we undertake adaptive responses that will enhance our resilience. As a result of this year's drought considerable quantities of grain in our Strategic Grain Reserves will be availed so that none of our people die from hunger.
I urge all our community leaders and Members of Parliament to avail information about those communities in critical need of assistance.
Meanwhile, my Government is always grateful to the United Nations Country Team in Zimbabwe and other international partners for their timely interventions to mitigate the impact of the drought. In the medium to long term, Government is quickening dam and weir construction, the repair of breached dams and the desiltation of dams and rivers.
Irrigation development around underutilised water bodies such as Tugwi-Mukosi Lake will gather momentum. DDF and local authorities will continue to be provided with additional rigs to accelerate borehole drilling so that our people do not have to walk long distances to fetch water.
To address the challenges besetting the livestock sub-sector, Government is increasing financial support towards the procurement of essential vaccines against high impact diseases. In addition, over 60 veterinary doctors have been deployed countrywide.
The resuscitation of the Cold Storage Company (CSC) is now on track. Productivity on ARDA farms will continue to be increased with subsidiary focus on value addition. I wish to applaud private sector players who have heeded the call to support Government programmes to increase productivity and viability in the agriculture sector. This resulted in increased output in wheat, soyabeans, tobacco and cotton, among other crops.
The mining sector is a major conduit for investment inflows and a promising source of employment creation. A number of multimillion-dollar mining investments are underway in most parts of the country's provinces.
These include mining projects such as the Prospect's Arcadia Lithium Project; Tsingshan Consolidated Mining Product; Karo Resources and the Great Dyke Investments Platinum Mining Project. Invictus Energy Project in Muzarabani is increasingly becoming promising.
Such investments will help in the economic empowerment of many communities throughout the country and also result in the expansion of our road, rail, communication, energy and housing infrastructure.
We applaud the small-scale miners who are making meaningful contribution to the country's revenue inflows. My administration will continue to tirelessly facilitate increased participation of locals in the mining sector through appropriate policy instruments and support.
A National Diamond Policy is now in place and will see the transparent and accountable exploration, value addition and marketing of the country's diamonds. ALROSA and AFEC will partner Government to bring about optimum benefits, world-class systems, technology and skills into the sub-sector.
In line with our Independence theme of "Embracing Devolution for Vision 2030", and in the spirit of our long held position of indigenisation and economic empowerment; communities must benefit from the natural resources endowments in their localities.
The tourism and hospitality sector continues on an upward growth trajectory, recording total arrivals in 2018 which surpass the highest figures in 1999. As commendation for this development, international players have named Zimbabwe the "Sustainable Tourism Destination for 2019" and ranked us number 3 "Must Visit Destination" in the world.
Information Communication Technologies are the nerve centre of socio-economic transformation in this era of the digital and knowledge-driven economy. In March this year, I commissioned the National Backbone Fibre Link in Beitbridge. The establishment of that infrastructure will position us as a regional ICT hub and act as a catalyst for ICT-based industries and business.
The initial batch of innovation, incubation hubs within State universities have been set up to help modernise and leapfrog our economic development. This initiative will be complemented by the construction of industrial parks in each province.
I am also pleased to announce the resuscitation of the apprenticeship programme to train technicians and artisans. All our polytechnic colleges will also be capacitated to produce technical skills for our growing economy.
These multi-thronged reforms and modernisation of higher education should lead to the development of a strong research, innovative, artisanal and engineering cadres, which must vault our industrialisation agenda.
The jobs, jobs and more jobs that we desire to create are a function of a thriving agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and ICT sector, among others.
Comrades and friends;
Government is in the process of formulating a Renewable Energy Policy to facilitate the development of a diverse portfolio of renewable and clean energy solutions. We also urge our people to embrace clean energy products.
In the meantime, work towards implementation of the Batoka Hydroelectric Plant is now at the Environmental Impact Assessment stage. Construction work at the Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion Project has begun, creating thousands of jobs and will see an addition of 600MW into the national grid upon completion. The Rural Electrification Programme has resumed in earnest since 2018.
These efforts in the energy sector will ultimately increase our national energy output; facilitate the growth of our manufacturing sector; propel industrialisation of the economy, as well as ensure the growth of rural industry systems.
In our quest to position the country as a transportation and communication hub, given its central location in the sub-region, Government is implementing projects to enhance the country's connectivity by road, rail and air transport routes.
The dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road, the Harare-Bulawayo Road and Harare-Mutare Road is gaining traction.
We continue to engage possible investors for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls-Kazungula Highway. The general rehabilitation of roads has seen more visible results on both city and country roads.
To enhance trade facilitation, a One-Stop Shop Border Post will be established in Victoria Falls and another at the Beitbridge Border Post. Meanwhile, the modernisation and upgrading of the Beitbridge Border Post is now proceeding in earnest.
The commuting public has been at the mercy of errant kombi operators for a long time. Government has now stepped in to alleviate the plight of the commuters through the reintroduction of buses under the banner of ZUPCO. We are increasing the ZUPCO fleet so that affordable bus services are extended to all areas, especially in rural areas.
My Government awaits the comprehensive report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Sale of State land which will see the reorganisation of the current unplanned settlements so that our people have acceptable habitations.
Relatedly, we have begun the urban renewal programmes, starting with the populous suburbs of Mbare in Harare, Makokoba in Bulawayo and Sakubva in Mutare. The renewal programme is anchored on the Smart City concept and will see the involvement of the private sector.
The construction of the New Parliament Building is fast taking shape. The rehabilitation, construction and modernisation of our courts is ongoing and will enhance more convenient and accessible delivery of justice.
In the housing development sector, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is constructing housing units as part of efforts to reduce the national housing backlog. Some private financial institutions have partnered Government in the construction of student accommodation and learning facilities at State universities.
My administration will make sure that no child has to walk more than 5km to a primary school. We will, thus, quicken the construction of more schools, particularly in marginalised areas such as parts of Matabeleland and Mashonaland Central provinces.
E-learning and learning of science subjects in schools across the country is being promoted. I call upon the service providers in the ICT industry to make the cost of bandwidth more affordable to institutions in the education sector.
The health of our people is a critical indicator of their quality of life. Government is making steady progress in revamping the health delivery system. We will accelerate the ongoing negotiations with stakeholders to guarantee adequate provision of affordable medicines and medical supplies in our hospitals.
In December 2018, I launched the National Clean-up exercise to raise awareness on the need to maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment through collective action. I wish to thank the nation for embracing this very important initiative, and further invite all those still to come on-board to do so.
Local authorities and the corporate sector should adhere to safe disposal of all waste and the provision of clean water and functioning sewer reticulation systems to prevent disease outbreaks in our communities.
Sports, Arts and Culture not only promote health and well-being, but have increasingly become a source of livelihood for many people. A more coordinated approach must be accelerated to grow the sector, improve governance and end piracy.
We congratulate our national soccer, cricket and other teams for the successes they scored in the immediate past and encourage them to work harder for future glory and in defence of our national brand.
Comrades, Fellow Zimbabweans;
The youth and women are an important constituency in the country's socio-economic development agenda. To this end, a dynamic training programme was rolled in 2018 to provide youths with appropriate technical and entrepreneurial skills.
This process is being complemented by the entrepreneurship development programme under the India-Africa Incubation Centre, which will be rolled out to all the country's 10 provinces.
The Zimbabwe Women's Micro-Finance Bank and Empower Bank must now open branches in all provinces to be closer to traditionally marginalised beneficiaries. Government will monitor the number of loans issued and quality of businesses supported to empower women, youth and veterans of our liberation struggle.
SMEs are important to the development of our economy. As such over and above meeting the demands of the local markets, sustainable economic growth will only be achieved through export-led production by SMEs. Government remains seized with the need to construct appropriate working spaces for SMEs.
As we reform the economy, my Government will continue to put in place safety nets to protect the vulnerable groups in our society. The need to empower people with disabilities is being given due attention. The distribution of grain to food-insecure households, inclusive of those in urban areas, is underway.
Political reforms and the entrenchment of democratic tenets, the rule law, good governance and an orderly society remain a priority to my administration. In pursuance of this, we are accelerating our legislative reforms to ensure that our laws conform to the Constitution.
This will see the introduction of new legislation in relation to public security, protection of privacy and access to information, among other laws.
I would like to commend the Security Services for their continued loyalty and defence of the Constitution and the nation. We specifically commend our Defence Forces for the role they played during the recent Cyclone Idai disaster.
Law and order are important ingredients of our national peace, development and prosperity, as well as for the orderly enjoyment of constitutionally enshrined rights.
Government is presently facilitating the re-equipping and retraining of the police service to make the force more equipped to deal with present-day policing requirements.
We are rolling out the automated Fingerprints Identification System across the country for the speedy identification of offenders and completion of criminal investigations. The police and other partners are also installing the Electronic Traffic Management System, which is expected to help reduce road carnage.
A Ministerial Taskforce has been constituted to spearhead the process of implementing the broad recommendations of both the Election Observer Missions and the Motlanthe Commission Report.
The Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption (ZACC) is being reconstituted. The incoming members should execute their mandate with diligence, honesty and integrity. Corruption in whatever form and by whosoever, will not be condoned. We must all individually and collectively prevent, report and fight corruption wherever it occurs.
Recognising that we are a unitary but diverse State, the Second Republic will seek to facilitate the development of marginalised communities in all our activities. We are steadfast in our commitment to fully implement the devolution system. Treasury has so far allocated a total of $310 million to facilitate the devolution programme.
The philosophy that "Zimbabwe is Open for Business" should reflect in the manner all public institutions are managed. Under my leadership, public servants will continue to be appointed based on merit, while the reform and profitability of public enterprises will be accelerated.
The restructuring of some key entities such as ZESA, GMB and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has begun.
The 59 approved projects under the newly established Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority is testimony of the successful implementation of the ease of doing business reforms.
On foreign relations, the Engagement and Re-engagement Policy with all countries in the international community, based on mutual respect, is progressing well. Various strategic engagements have resulted in the signing of numerous bilateral co-operation agreements and concrete investments.
We, however, call for the unconditional removal of the illegal and unjustified economic sanctions imposed on us so that our nation can realise its full development potential, free from any hindrances.
I am aware that a notable part of our citizens are currently spread across the Diaspora. The raft of reforms we have started should enable some of them to return home and assist in building our nation.
As a listening President, my ear will remain attentive to all Zimbabweans as we join hands for greater social cohesion and unity. I commend the progressive-minded leaders of political parties, who are part of the National Political Parties Dialogue.
This is the hallmark of mature, responsible and patriotic leadership, which puts national interests ahead of selfish ambition. The platform will enable us to have conversations that will help us to develop our country.
Comrades and Friends, Fellow Zimbabweans;
As we celebrate this 39th Independence Day anniversary, I call on us a nation to recommit ourselves to build a legacy of peace, love, unity, harmony and development. Let us continue to diligently and honestly work hard in our various spheres, not just for our families, but for the good and prosperity of our great country.
Together we are building a new economy. We are building a new future, we are building a new Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe shall surely rise again. We are moving on, our future is bright. Forward ever, backward never! Our prosperity is certain!
Happy Independence Day Zimbabwe!
Congratulations, Makorokoto, Amhlophe!
God bless you all!
God bless Zimbabwe!
I thank you!