I am honoured and privileged to address you all once again, as we mark the end of a very different and yet successful and productive year.
As your President and on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, I salute the people of our great country, both at home and abroad, for their resilience, perseverance, focus, unity of purpose and adaptiveness in the face of the prevailing Covid-19 “new normal”.
I further applaud all stakeholders, including traditional and religious leaders, Community Based Organisations, Local Authorities and political parties, for mobilising our communities to positively participate in national programmes such as the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic; National Prayer and Fasting; and Pfumvudza/Intwasa.
To our fellow citizens in the Diaspora, we are grateful to you for the continued support rendered to your families here back home, even under the difficult and constrained circumstances of the year. We are also thankful to various Governments, development partners and the international community who stood in solidarity with us.
Let me take this opportunity to yet again commend our health service personnel, the security sector as well as other front line workers for their dedication to duty under the unsettling conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout the Year, I was proud of the Zimbabwean people. In the face of adversity, you were disciplined.
You were responsible.
You were peaceful and united.
And through your actions, thousands of lives were saved.
It is my profound hope that we carry with us this spirit of commitment and unity into the New Year and beyond. Equally, may the events of the 2020 always remind us that we are all bonded together as diverse, but one people; united by one Flag and National Anthem.
No matter where we can go and what we may face, Zimbabwe is home. Fellow citizens; Now is the time to press our foot on the pedal and confidently move forward undeterred, to modernise and industrialise our country towards Vision 2030.
As outlined in our National Budget and the National Development Strategy 1, our ambitions for 2021 are bold and to realise them, we must be united.
With the optimism of plentiful rainfall and promising news of vaccines against the pandemic, 2021 must be a year of progress, development and making up for lost time.
As a result of our collective, hard honest work and unshakeable loyalty to our national interest, there is abundant evidence that we are indeed masters of our destiny.
On the macro-economic front, stabilisation of foreign exchange rate and prices is commendable.
The National Development Strategy 1: 2021 – 2025, as a successor plan to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, and the 2021 National Budget, will spur development.
The liberalisation of the fuel sector has immensely contributed in facilitating market-driven economic development.
The availability of basic goods, fuel and increased disposable incomes, as seen by the jubilation during this year’s festive season and Christmas Holidays, are testimony that our reforms, national discipline and focus are having positive impacts. Going forward, the responsibility to consolidate these gains rests on all of us, across all sectors of our economy and fields of work.
The Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) is now operational. The Agency will help attract more foreign investments through promoting the ease of doing business reforms. Trading on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange has already begun.
Together with the granting of city status to Victoria Falls, these developments will reinforce Victoria Falls as Zimbabwe’s prime tourist destination and financial hub.
Our industries are steadily increasing their capacity utilisation, leading to more locally produced goods in our shops. The promotion and support of Import Substitution and Buy Zimbabwe Initiatives will be intensified.
In line with our reform agenda and quest to ensure a transformed, efficient and responsive public service sector, all Permanent Secretaries signed performance contracts which will be monitored and evaluated. Ministers, Heads of State Enterprises, Parastatals and Local Authorities will also sign similar contracts. The roll-out of the Devolution and Decentralisation Policy, which recognises communities to manage their own affairs as well as direct their development, is well underway. There is obvious excitement in our communities as more and more projects such as schools, clinics and bridges, among others are being completed.
To enhance agriculture production and productivity, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme; the Presidential Horticulture Development Plan; the Livestock Growth Plan and the Integrated Agriculture Information Management System are gathering momentum.
This year, Government proceeded to deploy strategies which facilitated increased winter wheat production and timely input availability for crop planting coupled with good rains, we remain optimistic that these efforts will guarantee a bumper harvest and food self-sufficiency.
Summer although distressing, the Covid-19 pandemic nevertheless provided opportunities for self-reliance and innovation, particularly in the health sector.
This is evident in the renovations of hospitals, production of PPEs, acquisition of medical equipment and recruitment of more health staff. The education sector suffered severe strain from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of paramount importance is the need to always ensure a safe environment for learners, teachers and administrators. The recently announced adjustment to the school calendar has been informed by the resurgence of the pandemic. This whole experience is indeed a first for everyone, hence we will continue to monitor and review the situation as we go along. It is encouraging that all stakeholders are adapting, and that learning and examinations are proceeding well.
To this end, I urge all of us to lend the support required by the learners towards a brighter future for them and the nation as a whole. On the infrastructure side, my Government has deployed resources for roads, bridges, irrigation schemes, dam construction and borehole drilling and rehabilitation.
The construction and rehabilitation of road infrastructure by local companies especially on Harare-Beitbridge Road, with funding from local resources, is commendable. Going forward, my administration will replicate this model in our quest to modernise our national road infrastructure.
Dam construction remains central under the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy. My administration will expedite the completion of Gwayi-Shangani, Chivhu, Tuli-Manyange, Silverstroom and Vungu Dams, among others. Several irrigation schemes were rehabilitated in line with our small holder irrigation scheme development and expansion programme.
On the infrastructure side, my Government has deployed resources for roads, bridges, irrigation schemes, am construction and borehole drilling and rehabilitation.
The construction and rehabilitation of road infrastructure by local companies especially on Harare-Beitbridge Road, with funding from local resources, is commendable. Going forward, my administration will replicate this model in our quest to modernise our national road infrastructure. Dam construction remains central under the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy.
My administration will expedite the completion of Gwayi-Shangani, Chivhu, Tuli-Manyange, Silverstroom and Vungu Dams, among others. Several irrigation schemes were rehabilitated in line with our small holder irrigation scheme development and expansion programme.
The full compendium of projects and programmes of national importance, since the Second Republic took office, will be published in early January 2021.
Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution along with the respective Local Authorities must give due attention to the projects and programmes within their jurisdictions. Tremendous strides have been made in the implementation of Heritage-based Education 5.0 which underpins the country’s Modernisation and Industrialisation Strategy.
The Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency revised the country’s agro- ecological zones to make them more relevant to the prevailing climatic change realities. Government will continue to avail resources to innovation hubs towards the development of products and solutions that address our present national needs. In the Information Communication Technology and Digital economy sub-sector, notable achievements include the virtual network for Cabinet Meetings, the national switch for electronic banking transactions, the e-learning platform in education, e-procurement for Government, and the roll-out of ICT kiosks and Community Information Centres.
The media reform agenda also took huge steps which resulted in the issuance of new national commercial television licenses by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and the first campus radio station at Great Zimbabwe University.
The Access of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was repealed through the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act. The Zimbabwe Media Commissioners were appointed into office, while the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust was resuscitated.
These will enable all our communities to have a wider array and access to information, education and entertainment. Meanwhile, under the programme to devolve key national services, Government has accelerated the decentralisation of the Registrar-General’s Office.
These include the new Chitungwiza Passport Office and Murehwa, and Murambinda Districts offices.
In 2021 a roll-out of more facilities in other provinces and districts will be undertaken to improve convenience to our people. Fellow Zimbabweans, Visible strides are being made by the mining sector through the implementation of projects towards the US$12 billion Mining Sector Economy by 2023.
Jobs in excess of 3 000 were created in projects in Hwange alone. Recently, I also toured Shamva Gold Mine in Mashonaland Central Province where we are set to realise increased gold production and more jobs.
Our communities are urged to increase the uptake of renewable and efficient energy products. I exhort stakeholders in the criminal justice system to enforce measures to curb acts of theft and vandalism of national infrastructure, in particular electricity transmission and distribution equipment. On the culture and heritage front, we are proud that Zimbabwe was chosen to host the Museum of African Liberation which is being undertaken under the auspices of the African Union.
The World Heritage status was conferred on our Mbira instrument by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
My Government is proud to be immortalising our heritage through the construction of monuments in honour of our heroes and heroines such as Mbuya Nehanda and General Mtshane Khumalo, among other interventions.
In order to enhance access to justice, the Government decentralised legal aid services to all districts in the country. An integrated electronic case management system was also established.
Furthermore, the rationalisation of legal costs and the capacitation of members of the judiciary including Customary Law Courts and National Prosecuting Authority continuing are My Government is unrelenting in the fight against corruption, through the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and other relevant institutions.
In the case of Harare City Council, I have directed the Auditor-General to carry out a thorough forensic audit to establish the alleged intricate web of corruption within the local authority.
The pursuit of proceeds of crime has also gathered momentum with ill-gotten wealth being forfeited to the State.
Efforts are also underway to extradite all fugitives of justice. Rest assured that these efforts will be undertaken without fear or favour. My Government condemns the gruesome murders of our children and urges the courts to ensure that the perpetrators face the appropriate full wrath of the law. Let me also warn the perpetrators of armed robberies and other crimes that our security agencies will be vigilant and not tolerate the degeneration of law and order in our country.
I call upon communities not to harbour or hide criminals.
Fellow citizens; during this time of reflection and celebration; let us all pledge to re-commit ourselves to serve and work hard for the success and prosperity of our great country.
In unity, peace and harmony, we are well able to overcome any tough times or situations that may come our way.
A few days ago, the opposition MDC-T party held its elective Congress, in full compliance with, and fulfilment of, court judgments.
Let me take this opportunity to formally and personally congratulate Senator Douglas Mwonzora for prevailing at that Congress. We took particular note of his declared wish to guide and reshape the politics of opposition towards constructive engagement with the Government of the day. This is a very welcome move for our nation which is likely to put politics of rancour behind us, thus triggering collaboration, development and the harmony we sorely needed for national progress.
Both as the ruling ZANU PF Party, and as the Government, we assure Senator Mwonzora and the MDC-T leadership of collaboration towards the growth and prosperity of our nation.
Once the pledge and positive shift extended by the opposition happens, a new chapter will indeed begin, paving the way for consensual politics greater unity, peace, harmony and accelerated development. We appeal to all those still stuck to yesterday’s politics of destructive confrontation and obstruction to learn from this salutary gesture by the MDC-T.
To be in opposition need not mean being unduly negative, confrontational, divisive and disloyal to one’s Nation and People.
Finally, in light of the emerging Covid-19 trends, let us remain on the alert and adhering to the World Health Organisation and National Covid-19 guidelines.
We must protect ourselves, our families, communities and our nation. Meanwhile, the predicted Cyclone Chalane has moved into the eastern parts of our country, albeit in a weakened state. All our people are encouraged to be safe and remain on high alert as guided by the Department of Civil Protection.
Government has since released resources to cater for the negative impact that may result. With these remarks, I wish you all a prosperous, peaceful, joyful and healthy 2021, emboldened by our trust in the Almighty God and the firm belief that we shall indeed build the Zimbabwe we all want; which leaves no one and no place behind.
God bless you.
God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.