[Bill-Watch] INDEPENDENCE DAY 18th April 2024

Source: [Bill-Watch] INDEPENDENCE DAY 18th April 2024

At a meeting in the early 1960s, it is said that nationalist Michael Mawema suggested the name Zimbabwe for the country

He had also suggested other names such as Munhumutapa and Matopos, but Zimbabwe prevailed. Although Rhodesia did not become Zimbabwe for years to come, the renaming of the country, even just internally, was an important ingredient to reclaiming the land.

On the 18th of April 1980, Southern Rhodesia was formerly renamed Zimbabwe.

Today, we celebrate 44 years of independence from colonial rule.

Zim@44 : Unity, Peace and Development Towards Vision 2030

This year, the day is celebrated under the banner “Zim@44: Unity , Peace and Development Towards Vision 2030″.  The theme emphasises that all Zimbabweans should work in unity and in peace towards the development of the nation in accordance with Vision 2030.

What is Vision 2030?

Vision 2030 is a government initiative that was launched in September 2018. Its main aim is to achieve an upper-middle income economy by 2030. President Emmerson Mnangagwa penned the foreword of the Vision 2030 document. In his foreword, he mentions that the priorities of Vision 2030 are:

  • Re-orientation of the country towards democratisation
  • Respect for human and property rights
  • Freedom of expression and association
  • Rule of law
  • Redressing economic challenges
  • Championing investment and business
  • Improving the livelihoods of the ordinary citizenry
  • Re-engaging the international community

The aims of Vision 2030 strengthen the priority points made by the President. All these priority points seek to improve the quality of life for all Zimbabweans.

Visualising Vision 2030 

As we commemorate Independence Day under the abovementioned theme, it is important to take note that we are only six years away from the 2030 deadline and six years have already elapsed since we set out the goal to be an upper middle income economy. We need to  reflect on whether or not, at this half-way mark, we are making real progress towards the vision.

To be regarded as an upper middle income economy, the World Bank states that a country needs to have a Gross National Income (GNI) of between USD4,466-13,845 per capita. GNI is the total amount of money earned by a nation’s people as well as its businesses and it also includes the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as income from exports;  this total is then divided by the number of people in the country. In short, it is a measure of wealth of the nation. In 2022, the GNI per capita for Zimbabwe was only USD1,500. Analysts do say however that it is possible for Zimbabwe to reach the required GNI to be an upper middle income economy by 2030, but it will not be an easy feat. Major growth in the main economic sectors would have to take place – some having to double in size.  We also have to look at the distribution of wealth.  GNI can be boosted by a top layer of very wealthy people, leaving the majority of citizens living below the poverty datum line.  This is not a result we should aim for.

Recently, we have had a commendable project to rehabilitate many major roads and networks in the country and especially in Harare.  But in many parts of the country particularly in rural areas, roads are still deplorable.   We have also seen the opening of mines and other businesses – all which are meant to boost the economy.  These mines and businesses must contribute their fair share to the national fiscus, however, so that more can be allocated to education, health and social welfare and food security.

As we march towards 2030, are the lives of the common citizens improving?  Development is not just about the numbers, though they do matter;  it is also about the welfare of the people. What is the quality of life of the people? Are people being afforded adaquate housing? Is there food security? What about access to education , electricity, water and other basic services?

Conclusion

As we come together today to remember the milestone of being liberated 44 years ago, let us take a moment of silence for every hero – named and unnamed. Let us reflect on the visions we have set before us and let us continue to make meaningful changes towards a Zimbabwe that we all want. Peace, unity and development towards Vision 2030 must have a holistic approach. If no one is to be left behind, then development must encompass all aspects of life  – economic, social and democratic.

Michael Mawema suggested the name “Zimbabwe” because it represented a strong kingdom. May Zim@44 strive to be a strong nation with the welfare and well-being of the people at heart.

The President’s Independence Day Speech [link]

 

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