I am honored and privileged to make this video address on the occasion of the 40th Independence Day commemorations for our country’s freedom.
Forty years ago, we became a self-governing people after nearly a century of settler colonial rule; a sovereign nation born out of protracted armed struggle.
As we celebrate this important milestone in our history, let us not forget those who started the journey, the thousands of gallant freedom fighters who lost their lives and others who lost limbs.
All of them made sacrifices so that we can today stand tall, as masters of our own destiny; a free people in our own land.
May our children and grandchildren always enjoy freedom, while defending their rich cultural heritage and working hard, in unity, for an ever prosperous future.
Congratulations Zimbabwe, Makorokoto, Amhlophe! Happy 40th Independence Anniversary Zimbabwe!
This year, we had planned to celebrate this grand occasion, in Bulawayo Province; marking the beginning of a decentralised way of celebrating this important national day.
Devolution in action, as one people and a united nation, from Beitbridge to Chirundu, and from Plumtree to Mutare.
However, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing us endure a necessary lockdown in our homes.
Although we are physically separated, we are united in spirit.
The time to celebrate together shall come.
For our founding fathers, and gallant heroes and heroines, the patriotic thing to do was to fight for our freedom.
Today, our task, in relation to COVID-19, is to stay at home, keep our distance and wash our hands.
In addition, we must produce, produce and produce; that way, we celebrate our Independence by saving lives and our economy.
Together we will get through this, as we celebrate the old, and embrace the new.
Fellow Zimbabweans; we celebrate our milestone 40th independence anniversary in the context of unprecedented times, that of the threat brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I would like to once again thank the nation for the collective response to our appeal towards our preparedness to fight the pandemic within our jurisdiction.
I applaud the responses from the health services sector, security sector, higher education and tertiary institutions, pharmaceutical sector, the private sector, churches, traditional leaders and non-governmental organisations.
I further commend the nation as a whole for the manner we have carried ourselves during this national lockdown.
In unity, love and common purpose, nothing can prevail against us.
May this national character continue to grow and flourish.
I equally want to thank some countries and partners from abroad such as the People’s Republic of China, United Kingdom, United States of America, UAE, European Union, the World Health Organisation and other United Nations agencies, as well as the Jack Ma Foundation, among many other international organisations and well-wishers, who have generously supported our fight against COVID-19.
Fellow Zimbabweans; 40 years after independence, let us remain hopeful and steadfast in spirit.
Vision 2030 is alive and beyond COVID-19, its accomplishment must be accelerated.
Our present experiences, in the wake of this pandemic, teach us that friends and investors may assist us.
However, it is the collective efforts of all of our nationals across all sectors, that will make the difference.
We must, thus, scale up dialogue among each other to harness our abilities, competencies, skills and resources.
Achieving food security remains a key priority to my government.
Today our stocks are being replenished through massive food imports.
Food will reach vulnerable households so that no one will starve.
This includes those in urban areas.
Orphans and vulnerable children continue to benefit from the Basic Education Assistance Module, BEAM, with a total of 1,2 million children expected to be on the scheme this year.
Our situation is compounded by the continuing illegal economic sanctions, which we have endured for close to half of our years of independence.
These sanctions have limited our options and constricted our possibilities of freely interacting in the global economy.
I thank the European Union for softening its stance towards us.
I implore Washington to promptly lift these illegal sanctions against us without any preconditions.
They are illegal and hurtful to our people; Zimbabwe does not deserve them.
Our land reform programme remains a fundamental cog to our independence and sovereignty.
The land shall forever remain united with the people, and the people to their land.
To this, there is no wavering or going back.
However, we shall not shy away from fine-tuning our strategies to enhance land utilisation, equitable access and productivity.
I want to express gratitude to all our farmers, who have managed to produce to sustain and feed our nation, even under several consecutive droughts.
Henceforth, our thrust is to make our agriculture adapt to climate-change.
The more than half a billion dollars set aside for the rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation projects countrywide, has marked the emphatic implementation of smart agriculture.
The expansion of grain production to a broader variety of traditional crops, besides maize, will eventually yield the desired benefits.
Government will continue to put in place the appropriate incentives to encourage this new trajectory.
The Presidential Input Support Scheme and other smart agriculture strategies outlined in the Agriculture Recovery Plan, are being consolidated to enable beneficiaries under these schemes to excel.
Meanwhile, the mechanisation project is on course, with more agricultural equipment coming in from across the world.
Beyond grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to keep our economy functional.
Unavoidable shocks and disruptions must be mitigated.
Once the lockdown is over, we must all get back to work, with discipline and harder effort as we ready ourselves for a speedy economic recovery.
The silver lining to the present global health crisis is the awakening of our national creativity and inventiveness.
It is commendable that local industries and universities have become hubs for import substitution, starting with the essential materials needed for immediate use in our health sector.
My administration is committed to support the manufacturing processes developed as part of our defence against COVID-19.
It is the expectation that buoyant industries that meet our needs, while serving regional, continental and even global demand will emerge henceforth.
Scientific research, development, innovation and technologies for the vast economic spectrum towards greater value addition will be encouraged.
Let us strive to be a knowledge-building, and knowledge-driven society, by turning our literacy levels to real goods and services for our people and beyond.
The mining sector must redouble its efforts to facilitate the resuscitation of our economy.
Projects already underway across different minerals, coupled with the ongoing reforms give hope that the target of a $12 billion dollar mining sector by 2023, is achievable.
In the energy sector, it is pleasing that the water inflow into Kariba Dam, which is a key source of our hydro-power, is improving. It is integral that the energy mix continues to improve with regards to both the thermal generation capacity as well as renewable energy sources.
I, thus, urge all stakeholders to be robust, flexible and responsive and to keep the bigger national interest in perspective.
Silo mentalities have no place in the course we are taking.
The two Units, 7 and 8 at Hwange Power Station under construction are expected to be commissioned during the second quarter of next year.
These will bring in an additional 600MW to the national grid.
As such, the production of all the supporting through-put to facilitate the smooth increment of our energy supply must begin now.
A number of our key capital projects, principally infrastructure, must be completed as soon as we are able.
The tourism sector must prepare innovative strategies for recovery.
Our manufacturing sectors must diversify, riding on innovation, inventions, ICTs and the broader modernisation agenda, all-be-it seeking to meet the needs of our society and also penetrate the global value chains.
In respect of our social service sector, government is engaging all stakeholders to facilitate the modernisation of the sector.
In this regard, local authorities must shift focus from their traditional political roles, to being engines of economic development and transformation.
Our rural sector has proved a refuge and fortress in times of national and global crisis.
Government will move with greater speed to relook at, and implement our Rural Development Policy.
The need for suitable housing, sanitation, energy, along with accessible water, ICT and other social amenities in our rural areas should not be placed on the back burner of our national development agenda.
Our towns and cities must also be modernised and service provision enhanced.
In this regard, my government will continue working closely with urban and local authorities to ensure a shared development vision and common pace.
Roads are an economy and a key enabler to economic development.
The widening and dualisation of major roads, from our own resources, is the preferred strategy going forward.
Meanwhile, our rural and urban roads must be constantly and timely maintained.
The District Development Fund, will continue to receive the requisite fiscal support so that it plays its statutory role more effectively.
Equally, the resuscitation of our country’s public transport system will be quickened.
To date, it is gratifying that this sub-sector is showing pleasing results following the re-introduction of ZUPCO buses.
Success in these efforts must now motivate the urgent rehabilitation and expansion of our national railway network internally, and to our borders with neighbouring countries.
Riding on our country’s geographic advantage, the nation’s transport strategy is set to position us to be a regional transport hub.
I am aware that our economy is now highly informal.
My administration under the second republic will accelerate multi-pronged empowerment initiatives for start-ups and SMEs, especially those run by the youth and women, to grow and strengthen our manufacturing industrial base.
My administration will carry on using the law as a tool for development.
Hence, the legislative agenda will be informed by this underlying principle.
The modernisation, improvement and strengthening of our public service, institutions and state-controlled commercial entities, in line with global best practices, is ongoing.
Inclusion of women and youth in decision making positions in the public sector, will also be consolidated.
My government made devolution a key tenet of governance under the second republic.
To this end, I am happy that the constitutional requirement of devolution has taken effect and has gained traction.
Fellow Zimbabweans; The culture of reconciliation remains a fundamental foundation for national unity and racial harmony.
Consequently, our socio-economic stature since Independence in 1980, has been greatly transformed.
From a racially divided society, riddled with inequities; we have become a united, non-racial society where our citizens mix and mingle without any regard to colour, creed, tribe or region.
On the international relations front, we remain committed to our engagement and re-engagement policy.
Forty years later, Zimbabwe continues to make new friends, while deepening relations with old, established allies and friends.
The country’s diplomatic missions have refocused towards economic diplomacy, through the promotion of trade and investment, for win-win partnerships.
Although our country has been a victim of unjustified illegal economic sanctions and other hostile measures, we continue to reach out for unqualified friendship.
We harbour no ill-will against any nation.
Zimbabwe seeks and pursues friendship with all peoples and nations.
We are further optimistic that those nations which have wronged and hurt us, will realise that there is more to be gained from friendship and alliances.
Meanwhile, we thank all those who have weighed in to call for the lifting of these illegal sanctions.
The reforms to make our country more approachable, through the adoption of global best practices, have advanced.
The Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Act is now law, and has seen the establishment of a One-Stop Investment Centre which now has the requisite board and management in place.
The Special Economic Zones are also taking shape.
These measures are evidence that the engagement and re-engagement as a national policy is being given effect through laws, policies, practices and institutions.
This saw our country move fifteen places up in the 2020 World Bank Doing Business Index.
Let us all, in both the public and private sector, continue to make ourselves more attractive and competitive.
In our region, we remain active members of SADC in which we are the present chair of the Organ on Politics Defence and Security, while at bilateral levels we are constantly reviewing and improving our relations to make them more responsive to the dynamics of our present economic realities.
At the continental level, Zimbabwe is an active participant in the various institutions and organs of the African Union.
To date, we have signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and acceded to the African Peer Review Mechanism which promotes democracy and responsive governance.
Now, the onus is on all of us to increase our productivity, trade and exports, to reap the rewards from these landmark developments.
With regards to Zimbabweans abroad, the diaspora desk, which is housed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, is facilitating platforms and space for the diaspora to play a more transformative role, here at home.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, government took a deliberate position to welcome home any and all Zimbabweans from the diaspora, who want to come home.
They are a part of us.
However, all those returning must observe days of mandatory quarantine.
Fellow countrymen and women, unity, peace, development and hard work must remain the hallmark of our country.
Violent disagreements and conflicts should never again be given leeway in our wonderful country.
Let us cherish the enduring legacy and culture of unity and harmony, bequeathed to us by the late founding fathers and heroes of our great land.
The second republic is a republic of rights, of peace, love, harmony, dialogue and of inclusive development which leaves no one behind.
In addition, democratic principles, accountability, good governance, the rule of law and constitutionalism, which the gallant heroes of our country fought for, must be consolidated and entrenched.
As a society, let us always uphold and defend our culture, high moral standards, ethics and norms.
Corruption has no place in the Zimbabwe we all want.
I want to pay tribute to our men and women in the security sector for keeping the peace, assuring safety and guaranteeing our territorial integrity.
Zimbabwe is a peaceful country; Zimbabweans are a law-abiding people.
We must never trade in this character.
In the recent past, there has been a disturbing trend of cross-border armed crime.
I commend the vigilance of our security services who have accounted for most of these criminals.
Our country has zero tolerance on armed crime and all those toying with such unlawful ideas stand warned.
Let us all cherish peace, cultivate, maintain and defend it at the family, community and national levels.
Going forward, we should sustain the new culture we have begun under the second republic, that of always putting dialogue in the forefront, united in the knowledge and persuasion that we are diverse, but one.
Independence is about determining our own fate and choosing to take our destiny into our hands.
We are now a 40-year-old democracy; a mature nation.
As we begin this important “Decade of Action”, may we never lose focus of the bigger vision, to develop and modernise Zimbabwe towards an upper middle income economy by 2030.
I, therefore, urge you all listening and watching, to join me in seizing the moment with fighting spirit, as gallant and fearless warriors; towards a prosperous future.
Through us, individually and collectively, the vision, hopes, dreams and aspirations of those who lifted our flag and celebrated that first Independence Day 40 years ago, must remain alive!
Our beloved Zimbabwe lives.
Our proud and free Zimbabwe lives eternally.
Happy 40th Independence Anniversary Zimbabwe!! Congratulations Amhlophe, Makorokoto.
Long Live Zimbabwe!
Long Live our Independence!
God bless you all.
God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.