Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday urged Zimbabweans to put the recently held harmonised elections behind and focus on nation building and reviving the economy.
He said this while officiating at the Heroes’ Day celebrations at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare.
The celebrations were attended by thousands of Zimbabweans, diplomats and families of the fallen heroes and heroines.
“It is now time to put the election period behind us and embrace the future,” said President Mnangagwa. “The task facing us today is a great one. Let us unite as Zimbabweans, revive our economy and build our great nation; the land of our dreams, the land of immense possibilities.
“We should never be deterred by temporary setbacks or regrettable events which we encounter in our course to build an open, free, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. While this task is every bit as difficult as that which was faced by those heroes decades ago, it is however not insurmountable.”
President Mnangagwa thanked Zimbabweans for voting peacefully on July 30.
“On 30th July, you stood up and spoke loudly and clearly,” he said. “You showed the world that not only could we all campaign in a spirit of peace and tolerance, with parties free to campaign whenever, wherever and however they saw fit.
“We equally, together, demonstrated that we could also hold free and fair elections. In the spirit of transparency, these were held in the full glare of international observers and global media.”
President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to remain peaceful and united in safeguarding the country’s independence.
“To safeguard the gains of independence, we have to be united in purpose, always patriotic and should always call for peace and tranquility, as we seek to modernise and industrialise our economy in line with our national vision; to become a middle income economy with increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030,” he said.
“It is our collective responsibility to achieve this vision by growing the economy together, creating employment for the majority of our populace and improving the standard of living of our people.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe belonged to everyone irrespective of race, tribe, creed, religion or one’s social standing.
“We are all Zimbabweans, united by the national flag and national anthem,” he said. “Let us all take a leaf and draw inspiration from our departed and living heroes and heroines, who were united in purpose as they sought to liberate our nation from political bondage.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was well endowed with various resources and offered opportunities in all sectors.
“These opportunities are critical in fostering economic emancipation, human development, social security, poverty reduction and prosperity for all,” he said.
“One of the core reasons for waging the liberation struggle was to reclaim the land and give it to its rightful owners. That indeed has been accomplished and the land reform is now behind us. The challenge before us is to look ahead to the full utilisation of our land, through increased productivity, modernisation and mechanisation of our agricultural sector.
“Equally, I further exhort us to exploit the rich mineral endowments in our country, some of which remain unexplored and unexploited. To this end, my Government will continue to facilitate the enhanced processing, as well as in widening the range of exploited mineral resources in order to stimulate and leapfrog our economic development.”
President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to take advantage of the Command Agriculture Programme and the Presidential Input Support Scheme meant to assist farmers with inputs, while Government would continue seeking investment along the agriculture value chain to create income and decent jobs.
“I equally encourage a similar desire for heroism in other spheres of the economy, in mining, tourism, manufacturing, science and technology, as well as cultural heritage and creative arts,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said Government was committed to devolution of power to enable provinces to benefit from their natural resources and challenged households to utilise resources within their communities to uplift their livelihoods.
President Mnangagwa called on Zimbabwe to take advantage of opportunities created by modern technological developments.
“As we commemorate our heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle, let us be alive to the new realities of today and break new frontiers through the creation of knowledge societies, promotion of inventions, creative innovations and entrepreneurship which are responsive to our current future national needs,” he said.
“In this regard, I exhort all of us in all spheres to be cognisant of the socio-economic, scientific and technological realities that our nation faces in an ever changing global environment. We should strive to develop solutions to challenges, whilst equally maximising today’s opportunities, in our quest to grow our economy.”