Notwithstanding the deadly Covid-19 contagion which has played havoc on global economies, Zimbabweans will tomorrow virtually converge across the country to commemorate 41 years of Independence from colonial clutches of subjugation.
Riding on the crest of the Second Republic’s strides towards job creation, re-engagement, democracy, conflict resolution and agricultural productivity, among other deliverables aimed at fostering socio-economic development and peaceful co-existence to eradicate poverty, the nation will unite in celebration under the theme “[email protected] — Together, Growing our Economy for a Prosperous, Resilient and Inclusive Society”.
As a first since Independence in 1980, 16 radio stations were resourced to broadcast the President’s Speech on Independence Day (tomorrow) in the local language dominant in each community.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises 16 official languages, inclusive of Sign Language.
Outlining the Independence Day programme at a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said 50 learners were selected from primary and secondary schools countrywide to attend the Children’s Party at State House today.
The number is inclusive of Child Parliamentarians with each province providing five children who will be accompanied to State House by two teachers.
Marking the transition from the Children’s Party to Independence Day will be a Virtual Independence Gala and a 30-minute midnight fireworks display at the Rainbow Towers in Harare.
This year’s celebrations are coming at a time the country is basking in the glory of positives; from a bumper harvest in maize (estimated at 2,5 million to 2,8 million tonnes) and small grains (360 000 tonnes) as well as projected improved tobacco deliveries, to a relatively stable foreign currency exchange rate which has seen prices stabilising across product lines and growth in mining and industry sub-sectors.
In line with the national Vision 2030, the country targets to hit a 100-tonne gold production by 2023, and achieve its mission to have a stable and sustainable US$12 billion mining industry by the same year.
Efforts have also been made towards the curbing of stigmatisation in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector, a major contributor (at 65 percent) to the country’s total gold output.
This year’s celebrations also come as the Government debunked the colonial legacy of barrenness through the provision of water, a universal right, to communities previously considered unimportant by successive settler governments.
Since 2019, the Second Republic has committed resources towards the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam (at 40 percent completion), which has a holding capacity of 650 million cubic metres of water, with Treasury allocating $4,5 billion for the project in the 2021 National Budget, to ascertain sustainable livelihoods in the Matabeleland region, rendered perennially arid.
With 365 000 hectares of total arable land in Zimbabwe suitable for irrigation, the need arises to invest in irrigation schemes.
Cognisant that a modernised agriculture sector is key in bringing national Vision 2030 to citizens’ doorsteps, in March, 2020, President Mnangagwa commissioned the US$15 million Nyakomba Irrigation Scheme in Nyanga funded under the Japanese Grant Aid.
Mindful of the need to move away from over-reliance on rain-fed farming so as to ascertain food self-sustenance, the President commissioned the multi-million dollar Marovanyati Dam in Buhera on November 10, 2020.
The dam, which is on Mwerihari River, is expected to provide water for domestic, agricultural and industrial use.
Inroads have also been made towards beneficiation of horticultural products through Government support to companies in that sector, and the resuscitation of the national herd.
In May 2020, the President launched the Presidential Livestock Scheme at Cleveland Range in Harare to support livestock farmers.
In June 2018, President Mnangagwa launched the Command Livestock programme at Gwanda Showground, to cater mainly for Matabeleland, where he handed over 1 660 heifers to 151 beneficiaries from Matabeleland South’s seven districts with $10 million being channelled towards the scheme to empower communities in Matabeleland North and South by boosting their herds.
As envisaged, the horticulture recovery and growth plan will not just boost exports, but also drive rural incomes adding US$2 000 to the average household income for participating small-scale farmers by 2030.
The recovery plan would require US$1 billion from the private sector and partners while the Presidential Horticulture Scheme, would benefit 1,8 million rural households at a cost of US$186 million.
The Government has also set aside $34 billion for the Second Phase of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme which was officially launched by the President in Mount Darwin, Mashonaland Central Province on Thursday. The project is expected to create more than 20 000 jobs across the country’s 10 provinces.
Defying the illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by some Western countries, the Second Republic crafted people-oriented five-year blueprints premised on national frameworks meant to better citizens’ livelihoods.
On November 16, 2020, the President launched the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1); an economic master plan focusing on inclusive development from 2021 and 2025.
Pivoted on yet another strategic participatory governance plan earmarked at curtailing resource-based conflict areas; Devolution, NDS1 endeavours to streamline gender, youth women and other vulnerable groups, thus creating equal opportunities for all in an economically stable environment.
NDS1 is a successor step to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) in the drive to achieve a middle income economy by 2030 as enshrined in national Vision 2030.
The TSP, a fiscal and monetary reform, which has brought the much needed economic stability the country enjoys and leverages its growth trajectories on, was launched in October 2018, and ran till the end of 2020.
Under President Mnangagwa, the Second Republic has taken a bold step towards addressing conflict through the signing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Act on January 5, 2018.
This paved the way for dialogue towards sustainable peace and peaceful co-existence.
The NPRC has been playing its role as mandated by the Constitution, to unite Zimbabwe for sustainable peace by developing mechanisms for resolving violent conflicts of the past and present and preventing their recurrence.
Under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, the Second Republic had made re-engagement one of its key priorities and had established a platform for dialogue with political parties, churches and civil society organisations, to put closure to past conflicts, particularly the emotive Gukurahundi issue.
The Second Republic advocates engagement and re-engagement as a way of pushing for outcomes where the common good is the ultimate winner.
In 2018, Zimbabwe’s premier investment promotion body, Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), revealed that it received 165 business applications worth US$15,8 billion between January and June of the same year.
Another indicator that Zimbabwe was a destination of choice to investors was resplendent at the 60th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which ran under the theme “Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment”, in 2019 when space was sold out for the first time since inception in 1959 forcing organisers to pitch up tents.
The space available for sale rose from 47 612 square metres in 2016 to 57 732 square metres in 2019.
Indeed, the essence of unity cannot be overemphasized in the drive for a prosperous nation where the common good is the ultimate winner under President Mnangagwa’s vision of “one-nation, one-people”.