Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Economic reforms being undertaken by Government are necessary to guarantee sustainable development and prosperity for the country and efforts should now be on national peace, unity and increasing productivity, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
He also said peace was paramount as the experience of the liberation war should teach people to value non-violent means of resolving issues.
President Mnangagwa, who is the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said this during the Heroes’ Day commemorations at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare.
He commended Zimbabweans for their patience, patriotism and resilience during the period of the reform process, which has brought pain to citizens.
“These economic reforms are necessary to right size the economy and reset it for sustainable economic development. The austerity measures we have undertaken are certainly necessary to guarantee sustainable development and prosperity for our country.
“To desire quick-fix manoeuvres neglecting fundamentals, will be grossly dishonest and a betrayal to the future prospects of our children.
“Going forward, my Government is now concentrating on increasing production efficiencies across all the sectors of the economy starting with agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy. This will be followed by the mining sector which is the main foreign exchange earner for the country.
It is against this background that despite the natural calamities caused by the current drought, Government has put in place measures to ensure a more reliable supply of the electricity to support the requirements of our economy,” said President Mnangagwa.
Since October last year, Government has introduced a raft of reforms including separating RTGS accounts from Nostro FCA accounts, introducing an interbank foreign currency market which is now trading about US$5 million per week, and a local currency called the Zimbabwe dollar.
Further, Government has removed the use of multiple currencies on local transactions as it sought to cushion ordinary members of the public who were being exploited by retailers.
The reforms are being undertaken under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), a short-term economic blueprint that runs until next year.
They are aimed at ensuring the country attains Vision 2030 of an Upper Middle Income society.
President Mnangagwa said the economic reforms would be underpinned by a spirited campaign to eradicate corruption, a cancer that has previously retarded growth. “As I have repeatedly stated, this campaign will be waged relentlessly and without fear or favour. It is commendable that the newly reconstituted Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has embarked on its assignment with promising clarity and focus,” he said.
President Mnangagwa also said Government was aware of the perennial challenge of cash shortages affecting people particularly those in the rural areas, and promised that decisive action will soon be taken.
He also implored Zimbabweans to remain peaceful, saying violence had no place in the Second Republic.
“The experience of war makes people value peace, all the more. As such the defence of the peace and stability we enjoy today is paramount and must be undertaken with valour and vigilance.
“Violence, discord, disunity, hatred, divisions, discrimination, tribalism, regionalism and corruption must be rejected as having no place in the new Zimbabwe. Mutual respect, love, equality, peace, commitment, loyalty, co-operation and harmony must now be the order of the day.
“For this reason, violence must continue to be shunned and rejected. Instead, dialogue and constructive engagement must be promoted as the centre-piece of national development. Under the Second Republic, let us all be determined to rekindle and permanently entrench that important national character and identity’,” said President Mnangagwa.
Turning to devolution, President Mnangagwa called upon everyone from ward level up to provinces to take advantage of the new policy thrust and promote locally driven development to empower grassroots people.
“In this implementation of devolution, let us always remember that Zimbabwe is a unitary State. We are one people, one nation, from Zambezi to Limpopo, from Plumtree to Mutare, from Beitbridge to Chirundu, we are one. This is what our heroes fought for,” said President Mnangagwa.
On social services, President Mnangagwa said Government will continue to roll out Zupco buses for both urban and rural people, as part of enhancing safety nets to protect vulnerable members of society.
He paid tribute to civil servants and other workers for their patience and understanding during this time of reforms that have brought some “bumps”.
President Mnangagwa added that Government would continue to accord due respect to veterans of the liberation struggle, consistent with the Constitution.
Yesterday’s event was attended by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Government ministers, legislators, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, Service Chiefs, Senior Government officials.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who remains in China where he is receiving treatment, called President Mnangagwa yesterday morning wishing the country a happy Heroes Day commemoration.
“May I inform you that this morning (yesterday) I was telephoned by the Honourable Vice President Chiwenga in China conveying his good wishes on this Heroes Day to you,” said President Mnangagwa.