In pursuit of transformation

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WE are living under unusual circumstances. There is a disease that has halted almost every facet of life.

And, for the first time, due to those unusual circumstances wrought by COVID-19, the typical independence celebrations in stadia across the country were not experienced.

Instead, the nation was addressed by the President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa, from State House.

I guess it is in these unusual circumstances that the might of technology comes in handy.

This is what ED summed up in his address. Four decades after Zimbabwe quashed colonialism, a new phase, a life and, with it, a chapter were opened on Saturday last week.

President Mnangagwa referred to it as a ‘Decade of Action’. Indeed, action is desperately needed in Zimbabwe if the economy is to fully benefit the masses.

Exactly two decades ago, the late founding President Robert Mugabe started the journey of economically empowering his people through the heroic and historic Land Reform and Resettlement Programme of 2000.

Hardly had he started full implementation of that programme than he was sabotaged by the West through, first, the US which imposed illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe on December 21 2001, with the EU following suit on February 18 2002. Those sanctions have inhibited the country’s economic growth, with some estimates indicating that Zimbabwe has lost well over US$40 billion in potential revenue.

President Mnangagwa has sought to normalise relations with the West and have those sanctions removed but, time-and-again, he has met stiff resistance from that part of the bloc which says Zimbabwe must embark on what they call ‘reforms’ if the embargo is to be lifted.

What the country must reform from, to, no one in the West really says.

What is clear is that those reforms are, in fact, a ploy to have the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme reversed.

That will never happen and this entails that we look inward as we go into action.

President Mugabe taught us to jealously guard our resources while President Mnangagwa has followed suit.

What is left is for the masses to play their part.

The ‘Decade of Action’ is a UN theme that calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to challenges, ranging from poverty and gender inequality to climate change.

Let us hear President Mnangagwa’s Independence speech:

“Independence is about determining our own fate and choosing to take our destiny into our hands. We are now a 40-year-old democracy; a mature nation. As we begin this important ‘Decade of Action’, may we never lose focus of the bigger vision, to develop and modernise Zimbabwe towards an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

I, therefore, urge you all listening and watching, to join me in seizing the moment with fighting spirit, as gallant and fearless warriors, towards a prosperous future. Through us, individually and collectively, the vision, hopes, dreams and aspirations of those who lifted our flag and celebrated that first Independence Day 40 years ago, must remain alive!

The Second Republic is a republic of rights, of peace, love, harmony, dialogue and of inclusive development which leaves no one behind. In addition, democratic principles, accountability, good governance, the rule of law and constitutionalism, which the gallant heroes of our country fought for, must be consolidated and entrenched.

The culture of reconciliation remains a fundamental foundation for national unity and racial harmony. Consequently, our socio-economic statur,e since independence in 1980, has been greatly transformed.

From a racially divided society, riddled with inequities, we have become a united, non-racial society where our citizens mix and mingle without any regard to colour, creed, tribe or region.

Our situation is compounded by the continuing illegal economic sanctions, which we have endured for close to half of our years of independence. These sanctions have limited our options and constricted our possibilities of freely interacting in the global economy.

I thank the European Union for softening its stance towards us. I implore Washington to promptly lift these illegal sanctions against us without any preconditions. They are illegal and hurtful to our people; Zimbabwe does not deserve them.”

The battle to revive the country’s economy is everyone’s and only we can make this possible….

Let those with ears listen.

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