Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Government will give a holistic account of the country’s liberation struggle by honouring forgotten heroes such as the late Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Cde James Chikerema among others for their contributions despite areas of weaknesses, President Mnangagwa has said.
The Head of State and Government said this yesterday while delivering a keynote address during the main event that was held at the National Heroes’ Day commemoration in Harare.
Breaking from the past, the President is charting a new inclusive path as he leads the way in reappraising departed nationalists some of whom had veered from the straight and narrow course of the revolution.
“As the Second Republic, we are committed to giving a holistic account of our country’s long war of liberation. We are therefore rising to the occasion and recognising other heroes and heroines such as the late Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and the late Cde James Chikerema for their historical contributions, despite their areas of weaknesses, with regards to the observance of the correct line of the Revolution.
“For that reason, we now honour them among the list of our national heroes and heroines. We forever remain indebted to all the heroes and heroines of our great country for the freedom, democracy and independence we enjoy to this day. Their sacrifices will never die. Tinovatenda, Siyababonga,” said President Mnangagwa.
Giving a detailed account of the immense contributions that were made by nationalists such as Benjamin Burombo, the President wrote in his weekly column in the Sunday Mail and Sunday News that the revolutionary trade unionist inspired the likes of George Nyandoro, Edison Sithole, Henry Hamadziripi and Thomson Gonese who were the militant leaders of the City Youth League and torch bearers of the struggle.
In the column, President Mnangagwa said while Cde Burombo might have had limitations as a person, the impact of his activities in taking the struggle forward was immense.
“One man who looms large in the rank of early leaders of our nationalist movement but is not at our nationalist shrine is Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole the inaugural leader of Zimbabwe African National Union at its formation, after the 1963 split in the nationalist movement. Whatever his mistakes, missteps later in the struggle, he deserves mention and acknowledgement in national annals,” said President Mnangagwa.
Turning to the economy, the President said despite various shocks, Zimbabwe has transitioned from a recovery phase to growth anchored by mining, manufacturing, construction and tourism sectors and that his Government will always honour its heroes and heroines by steadfastly holding to the country’s God-given resources.
“The onus rests with every individual and corporate to protect our economy from saboteurs and currency manipulators. The people of our great country shall forever be one with their land. The Second Republic which I lead will forever honour the heroes and heroines of this great country. Present day detractors and looters, in whatever guise, will never ever steal or separate us from our God given land. The Land Reform is irreversible,” he said.
“The broad array of programmes by my Government to enhance production and productivity in the agriculture sector is seeing the emergence of new categories of heroes and heroines in this sphere.
“The Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme will not stop and remains ongoing with the number of beneficiaries increasing from 1,8 million to 3 million households.”
The President implored Zimbabweans to strive for food sufficiency to guarantee national dignity as an independent people inspired by the resilient spirit of yesteryear heroes.
“No Zimbabwean should be subjected to abuse and ridicule by subversive NGOs on the pretext of food aid,” he said.
The National Heroes Day, said President Mnangagwa, reminds Zimbabweans that its people are not ordinary, and neither is the nation.
“Our collective ancestry has ingrained in us, the resilient and warrior spirit of our forbearers, who were ingenious innovators, builders, explorers, enterprising traders and yes, gallant fighters,” he said.
“Our history is one of deep-seated patriotism, perseverance and ultimately victory. We never give up; we never surrender.
Zimbabwe has come a long way as a nation born out of a protracted armed liberation struggle, and we have scored victory upon victory since the attainment of our hard-won Independence in 1980. Today, we stand tall among the liberated and independent peoples of the world, as masters of our own destiny,” he said.
“We are marching on and consolidating our unity, peace and freedom in fulfilment of the collective aspirations and vision of our heroes and heroines. Yesteryear gallant men and women selflessly chose to join the liberation struggle against the oppressive colonial white settler regime. Forty-two years after the raising of our sacred National Flag, we remain motivated to ultimately transform Zimbabwe into a modern, industrialised and prosperous society.”
He implored Zimbabweans to direct their focus on accelerating the implementation of economic development programmes and projects as the country marches towards Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle-class economy.
“The policy of taking development and services to the people shall remain the hallmark of my administration. Sector by sector, ward by ward, district by district the Second Republic is implementing policies that are lifting our people out of poverty and into prosperity,” he said.
President Mnangagwa noted that the country is on course to realise the target of a US$12 billion mining sector by 2023 with mining houses being directed to ensure that communities benefit from the exploitation of mineral resources in their precincts.
“The unprecedented rate of expansion of the mining sector, together with increased capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector, increasing urbanisation and the modernisation of our rural areas has resulted in the growing demand for energy,” he said.
President Mnangagwa outlined several developments being spearheaded by the Second Republic in several areas such as energy, construction, education, Presidential borehole drilling scheme, information communication and technology, innovation and arts among others in line with the National Development Strategy1.
“All those who sacrificed their lives so that you and I can build a better Zimbabwe bequeathed to us the dignity of having decent shelter. The increasing urbanisation and ever-changing demographics as reflected in the 2022 Population and Household Census, reinforce the urgency of this matter,” he said.
Guided by the Government’s developmental philosophy of “leaving no one and no place behind” and the Devolution Agenda, said President Mnangagwa, resources were being disbursed for projects across all Local Authorities to unlock the development potential of the country’s rural areas.
“The private sector is commended for heeding my call on the need to take development to the people. This has seen new factories in the rural areas as we accelerate rural industrialisation,” he said.
He said the Government will continue to explore new and innovative ways of improving the working conditions of our civil service through various monetary and non-monetary measures.
President Mnangagwa said the arts, creative and cultural industries as well as sport and recreation sectors are other arenas where talented youths were excelling.
“Meanwhile, I challenge our musicians, poets and other art and culture practitioners to sing songs, write poems and carve out artefacts of victory and hope, for indeed we are a victorious people and nation with a brighter future,” he said.