President Robert Mugabe yesterday called for peaceful harmonised elections asking the people to emulate what they did in the national referendum in which they voted peacefully for the country’s new constitution.
“Sure, the nation still faces challenging but not insurmountable tasks ahead. Hence I wish this early on, to encourage the continuance of the hard work, patriotism, dedication and selfless service which are the tools we need to carry our country forward,” he said.
Full address below:
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ZIMBABWE DEFENCE FORCES, COMRADE ROBERT GABRIEL MUGABE, ON THE OCCASION OF ZIMBABWE’S 33rd INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS, HARARE: 18TH APRIL, 2013.
Honourable Vice President Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru,
Honourable Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara and Mai Mutambara,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe,
Honourable President of the Senate, Mai Edna Madzongwe,
The Honourable Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Lovemore Moyo,
The Honourable Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
His Worship the Mayor of Harare, Muchadeyi Masunda,
Families of Heroes of the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle,
War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex- Detainees, and Restrictees,
Your Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Esteemed Foreign Guests and Visitors,
Performing Artists joining us on this day,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Comrades and Friends,
I am delighted and honoured to preside over this Thirty-third Anniversary of our country’s Independence and sovereignty. To a great extent, the Celebrations attest to our ability as a people united by a common destiny, a people called by one name – Zimbabweans – rising up to various challenges and remaining vigilant through the three decades, in order to protect our much-cherished freedom.
Sure, the Nation still faces challenging but not insurmountable tasks ahead. Hence I wish this early on, to encourage the continuance of the hard work, patriotism, dedication and selfless service which are the tools we need to carry our country forward.
However, for now, at this juncture it gives me great pleasure to convey my congratulations to every one of you on the auspicious occasion of this 33rd Anniversary of our Independence Day. Makorokoto! Amhlophe!
We celebrate this happy and joyous birthday with a great sense of national pride. Our joy is, however, stronger when we hold dear the memory of how our Independence was achieved. Colonialism was a stubborn and obstinate beast that would not yield to peaceful means of seeking a settlement to the question of majority rule. Hence, it had to take an armed struggle to bring the settler colonialists to agree to majority rule, which eventually brought us to the negotiating table at Lancaster House, resulting in the attainment of our Independence in April, 1980.
Fellow compatriots, we now know the story of climate change only too well. Once again, this year, the early rains promised a good agricultural season only for us later to face the stress of a prolonged mid-season dry spell in most parts of the country, which has threatened the country’s food security situation. As Government closely monitors the situation, drought mitigating measures have been adopted to ensure the extension of the Grain Loan Scheme and to activate an enhanced, timeous Grain Importation Programme.
In addition, Government’s commitment to food security at both household and national levels is reflected in our National Food and Nutrition Security Policy, which is a collaborative effort with United Nations agencies and other stakeholders.
The development of a national irrigation policy, for long a talking point, is without doubt our best hope for alleviating the impact of the persistent droughts that are clearly a result of climate change. The successful conduct of last year’s Population Census should further strengthen our national policy formulation and subsequently better equip Government in dealing with the important issue of food security.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends, you will recall that Article VI of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which led to the formation of the Inclusive Government recognised our fundamental right and duty as Zimbabweans to work on a new Constitution for the country. We now have produced it.
Once the Draft Constitution was ready, a national Referendum was held on 16th March 2013. The results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) show that the people voted resoundingly for its adoption as the supreme and fundamental law of the land. As Head of State and Government, I am glad to note that the successful outcome of the Referendum demonstrated beyond any doubt the greater values and aspirations that bind us as a people than those which divide us.
Allow me to congratulate all Zimbabweans who voted for the Draft Constitution in large numbers, and for showing great maturity by voting wisely and in a very peaceful manner. May I also commend the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, polling officers, the security services, particularly the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and all those who were involved in making the entire process a success for a job well done! Our people have spoken and eloquently enunciated their wishes. I say Amhlophe! Makorokoto! Congratulations once again!
The country is now due to hold Harmonized Elections, guided by a new-home grown Constitution. As with the Referendum, I wish to urge the Nation to uphold and promote peace before, during and after the elections.
It is pleasing to note that our economy has remained resilient on a positive growth path registering an estimated 4.4 per cent growth rate in the past year. Agriculture, mining and tourism were the key drivers of this growth, a reminder, if one was needed, that we have the resources in our land to lift our Nation to greater heights.
The stable macro-economic environment characterized by low inflation of less than 5 per cent, enabled Zimbabwe to maintain its position as one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Against the combined background of the illegal sanctions, the fragile global economic environment, negligible external support and the negative effects of climate change on our agriculture, Government is largely relying on domestic resources to address infrastructure bottlenecks such as shortages of spare parts for industry, repair of vandalized installations and the erratic electricity and water supplies. Government is also aware of the liquidity crunch faced by the country and will take appropriate measures to ensure that the matter is fully addressed.
The Land Reform Programme, for which we were vilified, testifies today to a palpable improvement in livelihoods of Zimbabweans who benefited from the Programme. This is a fact now widely acknowledged, at times still grudgingly, by our critics.
Agriculture grew by 4. 6 per cent in 2012 led by tobacco, cotton and sugar. Tobacco accounted for 10.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is set to continue its leading role in the economy, following the registration of more than 66 245 tobacco farmers compared to 35 749 farmers in the previous season. It is Government’s wish to see sanity in cotton prices as this sector provides strategic industrial raw material for our clothes and for the production of edible oils and stock feeds.
In manufacturing, the primary focus of the Government is to increase value addition and promote trade relations within the bilateral, regional and multilateral frameworks. In this regard, Government has been promoting enhanced value-addition of primary commodities in all the sectors in order to restore the manufacturing sector’s production capacity, increase output and hence availability of commodities for both the domestic and export markets.
As a major sign of confidence in our countries and their people, Zimbabwe and Zambia won the bid to co-host the 20th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in Victoria Falls and Livingstone respectively in August this year. Preparations for this major event continue. As the date for the UNWTO General Assembly approaches, I wish to urge all Zimbabweans to contribute to the Nation’s preparations and support this initiative which has the potential to increase opportunities for new investments, employment creation and income generation.
Through aggressive destination marketing, Zimbabwe has witnessed surging interest from regional and international airlines intending to come to the country. Consequently, in 2012, four airlines, namely the United Arab Emirates, KLM Dutch Airlines, Mozambican Airlines and Air Namibia commenced services to Harare thereby improving capacity, connectivity and competitiveness; moves that are set to further promote Zimbabwe as a tourist destination. We look forward to the full resumption of regional and international flights by the national airline, Air Zimbabwe.
As part of strategies to alleviate poverty, 59 Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOTs) have, to date, been registered throughout the country to develop and rehabilitate community infrastructure in accordance with the priorities of the different communities. Furthermore, employee Share Ownership Schemes are also being set up in order to enable workers to participate and benefit from the indigenization and economic empowerment programme.
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are a major source of livelihood for many people and will continue to receive financial support from the Government. In this context, the Small Enterprises Development Corporation (SEDCO) disbursed US$1 022 million in 2012, sustaining at least 1 205 jobs. In addition, one hundred and fifty four (154) Savings and Credit Cooperatives were registered in 2012, recording a total savings of $386 800-00 in the first six months of the same year.
To improve their operational environment, a total of 5 846 MSMEs were relocated into factory shells, vendor marts and flea markets, while others were allocated commercial stands. Local authorities and the private sector are encouraged to work together to house micro, small and medium business.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends, it is most appropriate for me on this occasion to pay tribute to our defence and security forces for their dedication and commitment in maintaining the peace and security of our free and sovereign Zimbabwe.
Our foreign policy continues to be anchored on the sacred desire to safeguard our hard-won independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. These principles, as well as those of peace, stability and economic prosperity, underpin our relations with countries within SADC and beyond. The country is grateful for the unwavering support and assistance it has received from SADC and the African Union in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement.
Zimbabwe welcomes the reengagement efforts that were recently initiated by Britain and the European Union, and we hope that these efforts will lead to the unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
As we celebrate our 33rd Independence Day Anniversary, let us take time to reflect on the need for full commitment to Zimbabwe, and gear ourselves towards holding peaceful Harmonized Elections this year. I urge our people to replicate the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere that characterized our Referendum and thus shun all forms of hate and violence.
Let us strive at all times for peace, respect, and goodwill towards one another and to work for the unity and development of our country and people.
Once again, I say
Happy Birthday Zimbabweans!
Happy 33rd Independence Day Anniversary!
Long Live Zimbabwe!
Long Live our Independence!
I thank you.