DIRECTOR of Ceremonies and Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Hon K Kazembe; The First Lady, Amai A Mnangagwa; Vice-President and Minister of Health and Child Care, and Second Secretary of Zanu-PF, Hon Gen (Rtd) Dr C G D N Chiwenga and Amai Chiwenga; Vice-President and Second Secretary of Zanu-PF, Col (Rtd) Cde K C D Mohadi; National Chairman of Zanu-PF and Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Hon O C Z Muchinguri-Kashiri; Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate J F N Mudenda; President of the Senate, Amai M M Chinomona; The Chief Justice, Hon L Malaba; Members of the Politburo and Central Committee; Leaders of other Political Parties; Honourable Ministers; Families of Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle; Service Chiefs; War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Detainees and Restrictees; Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr M J M Sibanda; Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Dr V Hungwe; Mayor of Harare, His Worship, Clr J Mafume; Senior Government Officials; Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Our esteemed Traditional Leaders; Fellow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora; Ladies and Gentlemen; Comrades and Friends.
It is my singular honour and privilege to be addressing you all, at this Forty-Second commemorations of our National Heroes Day. This day reminds us that we are not an ordinary people; neither are we an ordinary nation. Our collective ancestry has engrained in us, the resilient and warrior spirit of our forebears, who were ingenious innovators, builders, explorers, enterprising traders and yes, gallant fighters.
Equally, ours is a nation born out of the sweat and blood of our forbearers, which generation after generation continues to flow beneath our sacred land. From under our feet that blood shall forever water and replenish our resolve to take on any enemy and challenge now and in the future.
As we converge at this sacred National Shrine, we therefore stand emboldened by the spirit of our heroes to bravely face, head-on, those who seek to do harm to our people and beloved motherland, Zimbabwe.
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.
We are marching on and consolidating our unity, peace and freedom in fulfilment of the collective aspirations and vision of our heroes and heroines. Yester-year 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.
From Plumtree to Mutare, from Zambezi to Limpopo, let us all draw from that rich liberation war heritage and harness our collective energy and skills for a higher quality of life for our people, right from the community level. This is what our heroes envisioned; this is what we are achieving, brick by brick, stone upon stone.
As the Second Republic, we are committed to giving a wholistic 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.
Fellow Zimbabweans; Our resolute efforts and evident success in fighting the Covid-19 scourge, have allowed us once again to gather and celebrate national events across the length and breadth of our nation. While we remain vigilant, I urge us to direct our focus on accelerating the implementation of economic development programmes and projects as we march towards Vision 2030.
In spite of the various shocks, our economy has transitioned from recovery to a phase of growth, with 4,6 percent projected economic growth for 2022. This trajectory is anchored by the mining, manufacturing, construction and tourism sectors. 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.
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.
Inspired by the resilient spirit of yester-year heroes, let us continually strive to produce all the food we eat to guarantee our dignity as an independent people. No Zimbabwean should be subjected to abuse and ridicule by subversive NGOs on the pretext of food aid.
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.
Fellow Countrymen and Women the country is on course to realise the target of a US$12 billion sector by 2023. Mining houses have been directed to always ensure that our communities benefit from the exploitation of mineral resources in their vicinity. After all, the heroes and heroines we are remembering today fought for the land as well as that which is under it.
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.
In line with these new realities, my Government is determined to broaden the country’s energy generation and distribution mix. As we do so, no one and no place will be left behind in our integrated development agenda.
The rehabilitation and construction of key national infrastructure which are critical in facilitating trade and the delivery of quality services across the country’s Provinces and Districts is showing visible progress.
I commend our local companies for their commitment to realise targets outlined in the National Development Strategy. They have certainly become present day heroes in their own right and a reflection of the development that can be achieved by a people who are united and focused.
Every Zimbabwean must have access to clean potable water and sanitation. Significant progress is being recorded in the construction of Gwayi-Shangani Dam, Chivhu Dam, Kunzvi and Tuli Manyange Dams, among others. The Presidential Borehole Drilling Scheme, is well under way and will see the drilling of one borehole per village. After all the war of liberation was fought and won in these villages.
Our people at the village level must thus, continue to be endeared to the national development policies as they look at the broad array of projects and programmes within their communities.
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.
Resource mobilisation to support various human settlement and housing development programmes are being scaled up.
Fellow Zimbabweans; Guided by our developmental philosophy of “leaving no-one and no place behind” as well as the Devolution Agenda, resources are being disbursed for projects across all Local Authorities.
This further unlocks the development potential of our rural areas and creates decent employment and empowerment for our people where they live.
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.
The war of liberation was fought on an understanding of grievances and concerns of the masses. The Second Republic, therefore, attaches great importance to the values of, dialogue, responsiveness and inclusive stakeholder engagement.
I, therefore, encourage our people to take advantage of platforms that have been created to facilitate feedback from citizens on the impact of programmes and projects designed to uplift their livelihoods.
The Second Republic is a Government of the people; by the people and for the people. We are committed to transparency and accountability to the people of our great motherland, Zimbabwe.
Fellow Compatriots; My Government is determined to go beyond the provision of quality, affordable and accessible education for all. National defence is the most sacred noble duty and an expression of patriotism, which must be infused into our education system.
Equally, the principles of hard honest work, patriotism, sacrifice, serving and volunteerism must be cardinal aspects of our education curriculum, across all levels, informed by the vivid fact that ‘‘nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’’.
On the side of education infrastructure, my Government has availed resources for the construction of 3 000 schools across the country.
Deliberate and greater priority will be given to under-developed districts such as parts of Tsholotsho, Binga, Kanyemba and Muzarabani, among others.
As a listening and responsive Administration, we will continue to explore new and innovative ways of improving the working conditions of our civil service. Various monetary and non-monetary measures are being intensified for the benefit of the patriotic public workers of our country. Additionally, robust training programmes are being rolled out to inculcate a new work culture that is grounded on our rich liberation and heritage-based ideology, which is uniquely Zimbabwean.
Fellow Zimbabweans; The Second Republic has put in place the requisite institutional, policy and legal frameworks to create opportunities for youth development, economic empowerment and job creation.
I, thus, applaud the youth who are availing themselves for the defence, modernisation and advancement of our great nation. Through the innovation ecosystem that my Government continues to create a new crop of trailblazing young heroes emerging in the science, technological and innovation space.
The invention and production of goods and services for our realities by these techno-preneurs are testimony that Zimbabwe will not be left behind in the ICT driven world of tomorrow.
The arts, creative and cultural industries as well as sport and recreation sectors are other arena where talented youths are excelling. Similarly, our country’s representatives at various sporting and non-sporting events are raising the Zimbabwean Flag high.
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.
This renewed sense of patriotism, clarity of purpose and readiness to sacrifice for one’s country must continue to see more and more young people deploying themselves for the realisation of our national vision.
Fellow Zimbabweans, Ladies and Gentlemen; My Government has provided funding for the operationalisation of the Veterans Investment Corporation. In addition, the registration of heroes and heroines’ dependents is currently underway to ensure that their welfare is catered for.
The restoration and preservation of the complete liberation war heritage, will be enhanced by the repatriation of the remains of the First Chimurenga/Umvukela heroes, from foreign territories. Processes and negotiations to this end are progressing well.
In line with my Administration’s commitment to uphold the democracy bequeathed to us by our fallen heroes and heroines; Zimbabwe is unrelenting in its pursuit to entrench Constitutionalism, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.
The heroes we honour fought for the democracy and the equal access to justice we are enjoying as a country. Let us therefore, individually and collectively, protect it from all forms of abuse and desecration, more so by those who never came to our help during the brutal oppressive years under white settler colonial regime.
Albeit, as a peace loving nation, Zimbabwe, is a friend to all and an enemy to none.
Fellow Comrades and Friends; The nation may recall that, in 2021, my Government established the following honours; the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Commendation Award; the Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo Commendation Award; and the Herbert Wiltshire Pfumaindini Chitepo Commendation Award in recognition of the sacrifices and outstanding feats achieved by the country’s founding fathers.
We shall, thus, recognise and honour heroism beyond the war of liberation and defence sector.
Milestones in science, technology and innovation; the accelerated development and growth of our economy as well as the growth of “Made in Zimbabwe” goods and services are applauded and celebrated. So too are initiatives around cultural preservation and other heroic efforts by our people, both at home and abroad, that raise the Zimbabwe National Flag high.
Befittingly, therefore, I shall confer the medals to four outstanding individuals.
As I conclude, I once again call upon us all to honour our heroes and heroines by demonstrating unflinching patriotism and loyalty to our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe. Those we are paying homage to, fought for our independence knowing no tribe but bonded together by their love for Zimbabwe and desire to see our people free. Let us carry the baton as heroes and heroines of this period, right from within our communities. Every one of us are enjoined to play their part. There can be no spectators.
Divisive elements which act contrary to the values and ethos of the liberation struggle and national interest have no place in our society. Nyika inotongwa, inovakwa nevene vayo/ ilizwe libuswa, lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo.
Zimbabwe is a unitary and indivisible country. We are diverse but one people. No countries, institutions, person or group of persons, must be permitted to infuse toxic and alien agendas into our national culture and psyche`.
As we remember our gallant heroes; let us all re- commit to fortify and protect our beloved country, while building on the gains we have achieved in forty-two years of our hard won Independence.
Together in peace, love and unity, we shall surely develop, modernise and industrialise our Zimbabwe.
With these remarks, it gives me great honour and pleasure to wish all Zimbabweans at numerous venues around the country and in the Diaspora, a Happy Forty-Second Heroes Day commemoration.
Long live our Unity, Peace and Freedom.
Long live Zimbabwe.
God bless you all.
God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.