We publish here the address by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, his Excellency Dr ED Mnangagwa on the occasion of Unity Day.
Today, the 22nd of December 2020 marks our Unity Day where we commemorate the historic signing of the 1987 Unity Accord by our leaders and Founding Fathers of the two liberation movements, ZANU and ZAPU.
Prior to that historic signing, an alliance was forged during the protracted struggle, resulting in our hard-won victory against settler colonialism and the attainment of our independence.
To this day, the Unity Accord which delivered and cemented lasting peace and unity, remains the bedrock of our nation’s stability.
Decades have passed since that historic event of our Unity Accord. However, its conceptualisation must now go beyond a narrow interpretation.
Therefore, today as we remember and celebrate Unity Day, let us recommit ourselves to the important virtues that bind us as a people and equally incorporate the importance of our unity within the transformative national economic agenda.
Our common goal should be to continue strengthening our unitary State, which is home to multiple cultures, all coexisting in harmony under one flag and one National Anthem. Individually and collectively, we bear the responsibility to bequeath present and future generations, an economically developed, modern and prosperous country.
The peace dividend of the Unity Accord should continue to permeate across all levels of our socio-economic spectrum.
The national peace which the Accord delivered must be safeguarded, cherished and nurtured towards driving our national development agenda.
As we focus on the future, and inspired by the new national trajectory of economic development; I challenge us all to draw from the fundamental principles of the Accord to unify and collate our collective capabilities, competencies and skills for the attainment of Vision 2030.
On its part, my administration remains decisive in ensuring that all Zimbabweans, have a sense of belonging and that they flourish and proper leveraging on their potential and our abundant natural resource endowments. This is indeed what our Founding Fathers envisaged when they committed to entrench unity as a critical pillar of our great nation.
Peace building, conflict resolution and management must remain a binding feature of our national development agenda. Where there are differences, we must aim to settle and resolve them through dialogue and engagement. Further guided by our national Constitution, heritage and traditional value systems; toxic politics and divisive tendencies have no room in our society. By and large, we are a peaceful people and nation.
My administration has the political will and boldness to confront the past to bring about healing and closure.
I am encouraged by the successes we are scoring towards building greater national cohesion and singleness of purpose informed by the lessons from the disturbances which characterised the early years of independence.
To date, a concrete course of action has been drawn out following inclusive interventions and meetings held with the traditional leadership and stakeholders of Matabeleland Provinces and parts of Midlands Province.
Recently, the Victoria Falls City Council an opposition dominated Local Authority granted me Freedom of the City of Victoria Falls. That gesture attest to the enduring lesson to our political actors on the need for maturity and always acting in the national interests.
Let us drive on this important Day to reaffirm our resolve to defend our national peace, sovereignty, independence and the right to chart and embark on the development of our great country.
Equalisation and development that leaves no one behind validates out unity and belonging as a people. Under my administration, budgeting and the execution of projects are being used as a medium to give a voice, power and responsibilities to communities so that they decide which priority is and best for them. We have shifted our development paradigm to be more people centred.
In this regard, my government continues to diligently implement the Devolution Policy. This transformative policy is informed by our desire and commitment to bring about, balanced growth, modernisation, industrialisation and overall development which leave no one and no area of our country behind. This policy further underpins and reflects our pursuit to preserve unity and peace through the democratic participation of all communities in national development.
In the 2021 National Budget, a total of 19, 5 billion dollars was allocated for the implementation of devolution projects in the various Districts and Wards of our country. I, therefore, challenge all our people throughout the country to be active participants in deciding, crafting, prioritising, implementing and also monitoring projects undertaken under the auspices of their Local Authorities, through devolution Funds. The development course and destiny of our communities is now in our hands.
The important role of national infrastructure in connecting and uniting communities cannot be over emphasised.
To this end, Government has embarked on extensive modernisation and expansion of our national infrastructure for sustainable economic growth.
The completed and ongoing road, energy, mining, agriculture and irrigation development projects, among others, are impacting communities, and engender inclusive national development and progress.
Meanwhile, remarkable steps forward are evident in our economy. The successes delivered and the firm development foundation laid out by the Transitional Stabilisation Programme cannot be ignored. As such, we are stirred up and positive as we set out on another leg of our journey towards Vision 2030 as outlined in the National Development Strategy -1 (2021-2025). To bolster national unity let us consolidate the prevailing macro-economic stability and to ensure inclusive economic growth.
Meanwhile, the current agricultural season has had a good and promising start. Beyond this season, climate proofing our Agriculture through vigorous dam construction and irrigation development will remain a priority as we move to become a food secure nation.
The establishment of sustainable agriculture value chains and related exports are equally key.
Allow me to highlight that the Second Republic is built on a firm grasp and understanding of history as a material force for nation-building. To this end, our country was honoured by the African Union to host the Museum of African Liberation. This will go a long way towards the immortalisation of our rich liberation history and heritage. This, along with the telling of the “African Story by Africans” should mark a re-awakening in harnessing our past, as a strong building block for a harmonious, united nation and continent.
As we live in unity with our neighbours and take our place within the comity of nations, I am grateful that our citizens who had sought sanctuary in Botswana are back home and integrated with their families and communities. We thank the Government and people of Botswana for hosting them.
In the same vein, we recognise and commend the Pan-African spirit demonstrated by the Government of Kenya, which accorded the Shona speaking community in that country, Kenyan citizenship and further made Shona, one of the official languages.
As we move into the future we must broaden the significance of Unity Day by recognising that unity and peace must be firmly rooted in our day to day interactions, daily chores and activities.
In the spirit of this Unity Day, I further urge families, communities, organisations, churches and other institutions to embrace national symbols such as our diverse languages, music, art and dance as well as our national fabric and dress to reinforce our oneness, national pride and identity.
Such an attitude will rally us to unleash our full potential towards economically prosperous and empowered society and the realisation of the Zimbabwe we want.
Finally, I once again appeal to the nation to remain mindful of the fact that Covid-19 is still with us. During this Festive season and beyond, our safety and that of our loved ones is priority. Let us never let our guard down.
With these remarks I wish you all Happy Unity Day as well as a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
God Bless you!
God Bless Zimbabwe!
I thank you.