HARARE: Zimbabwe marked its 43rd independence anniversary Tuesday with President Emmerson Mnangagwa saluting liberation and post-independence efforts as the country forges ahead to become a middle-income economy by 2030.
In his speech at the main celebrations in Mount Darwin, about 156 km north of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa said this year’s independence celebrations were more special as they came against the background of food security and food sovereignty.
“This 2022/2023 season, our country is projecting over 3.2 million metric tonnes of cereals against an annual requirement of 2.2 million metric tonnes. This momentum will be sustained and the successes consolidated,” Mnangagwa said. “Together, as one united and hard-working people, we have attained food security and food sovereignty.”
He said in spite of the many hurdles that Zimbabwe has faced, including 23 years of illegal Western sanctions, the country remains steadfast and determined to achieve its development goals.
To date, the Zimbabwean government had implemented about 7,000 high-impact, life-changing projects since 2018 as a bedrock to lifting Zimbabweans out of poverty, he said.
Economic stability and inflation control will continue to be fostered to ensure sustained growth, Mnangagwa said, noting that last year’s foreign currency earnings were the highest ever for the country.
“Let us continue to fully utilize our internal resources to modernize and industrialize our country for a higher quality of life for all our people,” he said.
Zimbabweans, he stressed, should recognize that they have the onerous responsibility to develop their country, as echoed by the national mantra and the theme for this year’s independence celebrations: “Brick upon brick.”
As it was during the country’s struggle for independence from Britain, friends and partners are welcome to assist Zimbabwe but, on its terms, and according to its priorities, Mnangagwa said.
“Together in unity, we will guard and defend our independence, we will work hard for the prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe. Long Live our independence!” Mnangagwa declared before thousands of people gathered in Mount Darwin for the celebrations.
This year marks the second time that Zimbabwe held the main celebrations outside the capital of Harare after the government decided to decentralize the event. Last year’s main celebrations were held in the second city of Bulawayo.
With the harmonized general elections just a few months away, Mnangagwa reiterated his call for the nation to remain vigilant, protect the hard-won independence, and shun violence.
“No voices, foreign or local, inclusive of rogue NGOs, should sow seeds of division and disharmony among us. My government has put measures in place to ensure free, fair, and credible elections. We must all say ‘no to violence’ before, during, and after elections,” Mnangagwa said.
Zimbabwe will hold general elections later this year during the period between July 26 and Aug. 26.
He said the nation’s vote must safeguard the country’s hard-won independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.