ADDRESS by his Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R. G. Mugabe (including off the cuff remarks), on the occasion of Zimbabwe’s National Heroes Day Celebrations, Harare, August 2013.Honourable Vice President Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru, Mai Muzenda, The Honourable Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Honourable Members of Parliament, Service Chiefs, His Worship the Mayor of Harare, families of Heroes of the Zimbabwe Liberation struggle, War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Detainees and Restrictees, we recognised the presence of Lieutenant General E. D. Ndaitwa Commander of the Defence Forces of Namibia and his delegation, Your Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Esteemed Foreign Guests and Visitors, performing Artists joining us on this auspicious day, Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends.
Fellow Zimbabweans. Zuva ranhasi izuva rekuzvitaura. Hongu tirikuita zvatakamboita gore rakapera tichiyeuka magamba. Asi zuva ranhasi rinendimi mbiri.
Ndimi yekutanga inoti rukudzo kune avo vakazvipira vakafira nyika yedu vakuru vavo nevamwe vavo vakanga vakashinga zviri mberi ndivo vari pano vachimirira ruzhinji rwevose vakazvipira vakatamburira rusununguko, ririzuva rokuvayeuka.
Ndimi yepiri inoti nhaka yavakatisiira heyo yanga iri mumaoko edu tineshoko rabva kwavari rokuti kuenda taienda asi heyo nhaka yatakupai moichengetedza. Pakati apa ndokuita bishi, nyanya, hedzo dzotungamira dzichitungamidzwa sezvimbwasungata. Kuti vaye vatakamborwisa vachitorazve nhaka iyi.
Vagova ivo vanotigovera. Ndimi inoti heee tinotenda vana ve Zimbabwe. Isu tangatauya kuti takagona kuchengetedza nhaka yedu. Chokwadi yanga yobvutwa asi takazviona nemeso tikazvinzwira nenzeve, tikava nemushando mukuru. Takarwisa, takakunda. Saka tiri kuti isu vachengeti venhaka pazuva ranhasi, kwamuri imi vakatungamira, makairwira mukaifira, tiri tose.
Chamakafira mukatipa zvamakayambira tikazvinzva, tauya kuti titi nhaka tiri kuichengetedza, ticharamba tichiichengetedza. Nhaka haichazobva mumaoko edu.
Ndiyo mhiko yatirikuita. Zvimbwasungata zvakasairirwa musango. Takakunda. Vaye vokunze vanga vakatidzvanyirira vaone kuti simba redu handisimba chete ratakataridza nepfuti, simba redu nderekubatana, simba redu ndere kunzwanana, takariratidza rwendo runo, kwete nepfuti yatakamboridza rwendo rwapfuura asi nevhoti, ndiyo pfuti yatakaratidza. takavhotaka maererano nechinangwa chikuru chinonzi democracy.
Ndozvamakataura vemhiri zvikabvumwa pasi rose kuti kuve ne democracy, heyoka tauya nayo. Tauya nayo munotiyi. We are delivering democracy on a platter, do you take it? We say take it or leave it. The people have delivered it. Forward ever, never will we go back on our victory.
Tinoramba tichienda mberi hatizive kudududza isu. Saka vanenge vachirwadziwa nekukundwa, hameno zvavo kana vachizvisungirira ngavazvisungirire. Kana imbwa hadzimbofa dzakanhuwidza nyama yavo vakafa vakadaro.
Tatenda, tinokutendai nebasa ramakaita. Tinokutendesesai nekuuya kwamaita kuzopa rukudzo kuna avo vakatungamira varwi venhaka yatinayo. Tirambe takabatana, tirambe takadaro murunyararo, mukuwirirana, nepfungwa nezviito zvedu tiri pachokwadi. Nzira yatinofamba yakatarwa nevaripano.
Inzira yekuzvipira, inzira iri pachokwadi. Hapana nhema dzinotaurwa apa. Nyika ndeyedu, haisi yenyu imi vemhiri. Simba rokusarudza vanotitungamira nderedu richibva munhaka yedu, harisi renyu. Saka isu ndisu vaumbi vehurumende, tisu vaumbi zvakare vemufaro munyika muno.
Ndisu tinebasa rokuzvishandira zvichireva kuti nyika nezvose zvipo zva Mwari zviri munyika imomo ndezvedu. Ndozvakada Mwari ka, tikamutenda, tinoramba tichimutenda kuti iwe uri kudenga, zuva nezuva tinotenda zvipo izvi zvawakatipa , tinozvichengetedza . tiichiona kuti mbavha hadzititorere.
Saka izuva ratinoti rutivi tiri kuyeuka magamba, rutivi tirikuvavimbisa kuti nhaka yavakatisiyira tinoramba tichiirwira tichiichengeta.
This year’s celebrations of National Heroes Day come in the aftermath of two happy and historic milestones, milestones for the country, namely, the successful conclusion and adoption of a new home-grown Constitution and the widely praised just ended harmonized elections.
Both events were conducted in a peaceful manner, proving wrong those who doubted that Zimbabweans are able to conduct their affairs without external interference.
We did it in a peaceful; we did it in a united way.
At this point, I wish to convey my sense of deep gratitude to all political parties for the peace that we all created in the environment; the churches and all Zimbabweans for upholding the peace before, during and after the elections. Indeed, we should continue to cherish our unity in diversity and everything that binds us together as a nation.
In the same breath, let me also take this opportunity to thank our regional and continental organisations which include the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the African Union (AU) respectively who have continued to support our national efforts.
My gratitude, indeed, our national thanksgiving also goes to those friendly countries which always with us well on this occasion and which also wished us wee.
Today, we come together for our revered national annual custom of commemorating and paying tribute to the fallen and living heroes of our liberation struggle, whose blood and suffering brought the cherished one-man-one-vote, the land and independence we call ours today.
Today, we are a proud, independent and sovereign nation, thanks to these gallant sons and daughters of the soil. As we remember their immense sacrifices, we celebrate their selfless courage and bravery in confronting the settler colonial enemy. Indeed, the emphatic vote that was recently reposed in the ruling revolutionary party Zanu-PF assures us that Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again. Never! Never! Ever!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends, our main struggle today continues on the path of socio-economic transformation, as we strive to improve the standard of living of our people.
Zimbabwe’s economy remains one of the most stable economies in the region, characterised by low level inflation. Average annual inflation for the first five months of the year was 2,6 percent which is in line with the 5 percent target outlined in the Sadc Finance and Investment Protocol.
However, due to a myriad of challenges faced by the country, the initial projected growth rate of 5 percent has been revised downwards to 3,4 percent in 2013.
Economic performance is being threatened by the erratic rainfall patterns due to climate change which has impacted negatively on our agricultural sector which contributes about 17 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The 2012/2013 agricultural season was characterised by poor rains, particularly, in Matabeleland, Masvingo and Masvingo and Mashonaland East Provinces, which resulted in some of the crops being written off.
Maize production is now projected to decline by 17 percent from the initial projection of 964 000 tonnes to 800 000 tonnes.
These developments threaten our food security and overall economic performance. For now, Government is importing maize from Zambia in order to fight hunger amongst our people.
Government will, however, continue to implement mitigatory measures aimed at strengthening the agricultural sector, boosting agricultural production and increasing productivity in order to ensure food and nutrition security.
Mining maintains its pole position as the country’s fastest growing and leading foreign currency earner, after accounting for over 50 percent of total exports last year.
Government is in the process of reviving the Mining Promotion Corporation (MPC), an exploration company under the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). The Mining Promotion Corporation will spearhead exploration activities throughout the country and build an inventory of bankable mining projects.
It is Government’s expectation that indigenous mining experts will take advantage of these opportunities to pursue various empowerment enterprises for our people in line with our Indigenisation and Empowerment policy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and her allies, our manufacturing sector continued to exhibit signs of contraction and sluggish production volumes compared to last year. Most companies in the textile and clothing sub-sectors downsized their operations in order to contain costs while others were forced to shut down due to unsustainable operational costs.
Government is greatly concerned by the continuing trend which implies that we are losing out on production which our industries can handle. As a consequence, this is negatively affecting the resuscitation of the local manufacturing sector and employment creation. Governments will, therefore, prioritise measures aimed at promoting the country’s exports and increasing their market share by focusing on areas where Zimbabwe has comparative advantage.
Through the vigorous promotion of adding value to our primary commodities in all sectors of the economy, the manufacturing sector is expected to increase its export earnings from the current 16 to 50 percent by 2016.
With respect to education, Zimbabwe has for the third consecutive time, been ranked as having the highest literacy rate in Africa, which stands at 90, 7 percent. The increase in literacy levels is evidence of Government’s committed investment in education since independence.
Interventions such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) for orphans and other vulnerable learners will continue to be given priority by Government. In addition, School feeding programmes and targeted activities for the benefit of out-of-school children and youths will be strengthened.
In the area of tertiary education and in fulfilment of its policy that there should be a State University in every province, Government is currently establishing three more universities namely, Gwanda State University in Matabeleland South, which is scheduled to enrol its first students in August this year; Manicaland University of Applied Science and Technology in Manicaland Province; and the Marondera University of Agricultural Science and Technology in Mashonaland East Province.
The establishment of the above institutions is expected to address the inadequate provision of higher and tertiary education to the majority of young Zimbabweans.
Comrades and Friends, Government continues to prioritise the resuscitation of the health sector through various programmes aimed at upgrading infrastructure and retaining medical staff, with at least two doctors now being stationed in every district throughout the country.
To further increase access to referral facilities, 63 ambulances were procured during the year. In addition, various strategies are being implemented to address issues of HIV and Aids such as access to treatment and the prevention of new infections’
In the sphere of infrastructural development, the critical sectors of power, water, roads, rail and telecommunications will continue to receive due attention. Government recently embarked on the roads Authority Recapitalisation Programme whose objective is to provide road authorities with road construction and maintenance equipment.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the empowerment agenda remains central to Government’s priorities. In line with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (Chapter 14:33) Community Share Ownership Trusts have been launched in all the country’s provinces. Some of these schemes have already embarked on projects which are set to change the complexion of rural areas and the livelihoods of communities in those areas.
Youth and women empowerment remains particularly central to Government’s priorities as we continue to pursue socioeconomic transformation.
Government is concerned about the welfare of members of the Public Service and will continue to implement strategies aimed at improving their conditions of service.
Despite budgetary constraints, government managed to increase the basic salary and allowances of public servants by 5,3 percent with effect from January this year. During the same period, Government also introduced allowances for members of the Public Service based in rural areas.
In addition to augmenting the monetary allowances for members of the Public Service, Government is offering other incentives such as housing and training loans, and housing stands.
We have promised to address the issue of salaries and conditions of living. We pledge to fulfil this promise this year.
With respect to capacity development, Government has processed 262 bilateral and multilateral courses offered by India, China and Malaysia.
The courses are meant to provide public servants with an opportunity to learn best practices from other countries and apply them in Zimbabwe.
Government is committed to improving the pensions and general welfare of war veterans, ex-detainees and heroes’ dependants. In this regard, the National Heroes Dependants Assistance Fund which was established to provide monthly allowances for both surviving spouses and minor children under the age of 18 will receive support from Government’s empowerment schemes.
Given the extreme difficulties caused by the West’s illegal sanctions regime, government recently decided to extend debt relief in terms of the law to all Rural and Urban Council dwellers in respect of certain debts owed by residents from February 2009, to the end of June 2013.
Government is committed to ensuring that Local Authorities are assisted in providing better delivery of service to residents, rather than to keep chasing debts which the residents may have no capacity to pay.
As a major sign of confidence in our continent, Zimbabwe and Zambia will co-host the 20th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in Victoria Falls and Livingstone latter this month.
Preparations for this world class event have now been finalised. I, therefore, wish to urge all Zimbabweans to contribute to the Nation’s efforts and support this initiative which has the potential to increase opportunities for new investments, employment creation and income generation.
Fellow Compatriots, Zimbabwe’s foreign policy objectives continue to be anchored in safeguarding the country’s peace and security; sovereignty and territorial integrity; the protection of its prestige and image; the pursuit of policies that improve the standard of living of all Zimbabweans wherever they are, and the creation and maintenance of an international environment conducive to the attainment of these goals.
In adherence to these principles, Zimbabwe is at one with Sadc, Comesa and the AU which have pursued regional integration, peace and security, gender equality and good governance, and socio-economic transformation.
Regarding the United Nations Organisation itself, Zimbabwe continues to work under the auspices of the African Union committee of 10, to push for the long overdue reform and democratisation of the united Nations, and, in particular, the Security Council. Africa demands representation in the United Nations Security Council on the basis of the Ezulwini Consensus.
Allow me to pay tribute to our defence, police, prison, and security services for their unflinching and dedicated service in guaranteeing and maintaining peace, stability and the security of our free and sovereign Zimbabwe.
Their hard work and long hours ensured that a peaceful atmosphere in the country was guaranteed not only during the Election period, but also at all times.
On the international scene, our security forces continue to make us proud as they contribute towards the maintenance of international peace and security through their participation in various United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
Comrades and Friends let me conclude by urging all of you Zimbabweans to direct your energies to the accelerated development of our country. With unity of purpose, great things can be achieved.
I wish to urge all Zimbabweans to remain united and tolerant of each other, this is the elixir of a successful nation. Let us forever cherish the peace, freedom and independence that this day, our national Heroes Day, calls on all of us to hold dear.
I now wish the country enjoyable and memorable national Heroes and Defence Forces holidays.
I thank you.
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