President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivered a ‘glowing’ speech at the Independence Day celebrations in Bulawayo, Monday, which showed a country that is on a recovery path, particularly under his administration but citizens said they remain frustrated due to the massive economic crisis.
Citizens said in so many respects, the country is facing a lot of socio-economic challenges caused by misgovernance while Mnangagwa’s administration has not quite risen up to the occasion.
They also said the president did not address how his government would solve those socio-economic problems.
However, in over 30 minutes, Mnangagwa said despite ‘great adversity and difficulties’ such as the illegal economic sanctions, Zimbabwe had a lot to be proud of in its 42 years.
“Equally, invaluable lessons have been learnt which will make our actions more targeted for coordinated and balanced development,” he said during his address at Barbourfields Stadium.
The celebrations, the first time to be held outside Harare, carried an added significance as this was also the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 that people were able to gather together.
Mnangagwa insisted that his administration was ‘walking the talk’ citing the theme: Zimbabwe at 42: No one and no place is left behind, as their guide.
“Good governance and people-centred service delivery are non-negotiable. The administration and development within our local authorities must, therefore, be reflective of the modernised, industrialised and prosperous country that we are currently building,” he said.
For the country to collectively move forward, Mnangagwa stated that citizens had to develop an entrepreneurial culture, be productive, work hard, be honest and innovate.
“Hence, realistic and responsive approaches will continue to mould the implementation of our policies, projects and programmes, informed by the development mantra that, ‘ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi, Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’,” he said.,
To this end, the president said the Second Republic was unwavering in its commitment to creating opportunities in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, healthcare, education, sciences and Information Communication Technologies, among other sectors.
“This is what was fought for by the many heroes and heroines of our great country,” he said, encouraging Zimbabweans, both at home and abroad, to find their “niche and help build our motherland, riding on the abundant business and investment prospects in our economy.”
The president said the economy grew by 7.4 percent last year, while this year it was projected to grow by 5.5 percent, leveraging on the “peaceful environment, increased production and productivity; infrastructural development, a buoyant mining sector as well as a recovering tourism and hospitality industry.”
He also noted the country was working on laying a “sound” infrastructure base for sustainable socio-economic development, and growth as well as enhancing its role in regional connectivity and integration.
Mnangagwa noted that in line with his administration’s determination to deliver inclusive development to the people, construction and rehabilitation of feeder roads, bridges, clinics, classroom blocks and other social amenities have been undertaken by local authorities. “These are proving to be key enablers for increased economic activities and convenience, across all provinces, districts and wards.”
He added the government continues to avail the requisite support and enabling environment for the resuscitation and growth of industry and commerce.
“Capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector has increased beyond 65 percent, resulting in locally produced basic consumer goods constituting about 70 percent of the market,” he claimed, adding the development of rural industrialisation was also a priority, leveraging on the various unique resources within our communities.
“The development of rural industrialisation is being prioritised, leveraging on the various unique resources within our communities. Meanwhile, total exports are projected to grow by 10 percent this year, following the penetration of the export market by more of our businesses, including those at the grassroots level.
With regards to Tourism and Hospitality, Mnangagwa remarked that the increased number of airlines from three at the onset of the Second Republic to the current 17 is a “testimony of the growth trajectory of the sector as well as the undeniable success of our Engagement and Re- Engagements efforts.”
Despite the challenges seen in the education sector where teachers have been on continuous strike, with students learning haphazardly, Mnangagwa said it was pleasing that the education sector has “returned to normalcy.”
He said plans were underway to make sure there was both quantitative and qualitative improvement of the country’s educational institutions.
On health, the president said the delivery of Universal Health Coverage remains a priority area for this government.
“In spite of the devastating impact of the illegal and unjustified economic sanctions on our health delivery system and other social services, we are not burying our heads in the sand. We are certainly moving forward,” Mnangagwa alleged.
“Key milestones are being achieved, with Zimbabwe recording a reduction in maternal mortality. More health facilities are being constructed, rehabilitated and modernised from the districts upwards to enhance accessibility and convenience to the general populace.”
In ending his speech, Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans not to grow tired but keep marching forward with “joy, great optimism, determination, zeal and focus in unity, peace and freedom. Good times lie ahead and the fruits of our labour will be there for all to enjoy.”