It is my distinct honour and privilege to be addressing the nation on the occasion of our country’s 43rd Independence Day Celebrations here in Mount Darwin, Mashonaland Central Province.

The venue befits the occasion, as it sits on what became one of the epicentres of the Second Chimurenga.

Being the first independence celebrations to be held in a rural province, this year’s event serves as a jubilant statement and symbol of honour to the many sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who fought for our liberation, who were drawn from every village of our country.

Sombre memories of the immense suffering of our people in “Keeps” and surrounding villages under the brutal colonial administration, embolden us to stand firm, defiant and confident that never, never again shall our people live as slaves in their own motherland, Zimbabwe.

The atmosphere here in Mount Darwin must evoke among all of us hope and a resolute determination to realise Vision 2030.

As such, the theme for this year’s celebrations:
“Zim at 43: Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo/ Ilizwe Lakhiwa Ngabanikazi Balo: Brick upon Brick” is a clarion reminder to us all of the weighty responsibility we have to develop our motherland.

None but ourselves have this onerous obligation.

As it was during our struggle for Independence, friends and partners are welcome to assist us, but always on our terms and according to our defined priorities.

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!

Fellow Zimbabweans;
We are a fearless, resolute and unrelenting people. In spite of the many hurdles that our country has been subjected to, including the 23 years of illegal sanctions, our Flame of Independence, forever burns.

The successes realised by the Second Republic are irreversible. To date, my Administration has implemented about 7 000 high impact, life-changing projects since 2018, as a bedrock to lift our people out of poverty into prosperity.

It is encouraging that inflationary pressures continue to ease due to a combination of fiscal consolidation and tight monetary policy measures.

The notable expansion, productivity and profitability of entities across all sectors of our economy have seen our country recording the highest GDP growth in our region.

Meanwhile, foreign currency earnings in 2022 were record breaking.

Let us continue to fully utilise our internal resources to modernise and industrialise our country for a higher quality of life for all our people.

In the agriculture sector we are “Going for Growth”, anchored by an assortment of policies. Under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme, our people are being supported to grow traditional grains and cereals.

More and more households are moving from subsistence farming to undertaking farming as a business.

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. Together, as one united and hard-working people, we have attained food security and food sovereignty.

The Presidential Teak Grease Programme saw over 1 million households supported with teak grease to mitigate the January disease, while efforts are ongoing to improve cattle breeds in communal areas.

Under my Government’s Agriculture Mechanisation Programme, our country’s farmers have increased access to mechanisation capacities.

As a result of public private partnerships, a total of 1 641 tractors and combine harvesters where distributed by December 2022, while 4 400 additional tractors are being imported towards closing the farm mechanisation gap.

To ensure that our people fully enjoy improved productivity of our land and the ongoing modernisation of my Administration, 2-wheeler tractor-kits will be availed to our communal and small holder farmers.

My Government continues to de-risk and climate proof agriculture through the development and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure as well as dam construction.

The dams being constructed across all provinces are set to ensure aspects related to hydro power, fisheries, irrigation development and potable water benefit our communities.

Here in Mashonaland Central Province, Semwa, Bindura, Dande and Mbada dams have been constructed. Piped water schemes have also been established at Chahwanda, Bveke, Kaitano, Kamutsenzere and Chigango.

Additionally, the Second Republic is in the process of drilling one borehole per village across the country, with the accompanying nutrition gardens, orchards, fisheries also being established.

We are unwavering in our commitment to improve the quality of life of our people, no matter where they live.

Comrades and Friends;
There are several mining projects under implementation.

These will significantly grow the mining sector beyond the US$12 billion target for 2023, with value addition, beneficiation and employment creation now the main focus.

Regulations to reduce land degradation and deforestation are also being tightened.

Private sector-led industrialisation and increased capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector have seen the sector account for over 23% of GDP.

Local goods now occupy over 80% of shelf space in retail outlets, while trade links have been increased in emerging export destinations.

The ongoing technical commissioning of Hwange Unit 7 and Unit 8 will enhance stability of power supply.

Going forward, communities are encouraged to harness our abundant sunshine for renewable energy generation.

Zimbabwe’s quest to be “a friend to all and enemy to none” is reflecting positively on the tourism and hospitality sector. Complemented by an improved country image in source markets and sustained destination promotion, international tourist arrivals increased by 174% in 2022.

We continue to call on Provinces to ride on our cultural diversity and unique natural heritage to market tourist attractions across the country.

Fellow Countrymen and Women;
Infrastructure development projects embarked by the Second Republic, remain on course.

We are indeed proud as a country that this sector has scored unprecedented results on the back of the use of our own internal resources and local expertise.

The Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway will soon be complete, with works on the Beitbridge Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road, Mutare Christmas Pass by-pass as well as Harare-Chirundu Highway having commenced.

In Mashonaland Central, works will be accelerated on the following road networks:

Harare-Bindura Shamva; Bindura-Matepatepa-Mt. Darwin; Chimhanda-Rushinga; Muzarabani-Mahuwe; St Alberts-Dotito and Harare-Guruve-Kanyemba Road as well as the Ndodahondo-Mukumbura Border post.

The modernisation of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and construction of Mbudzi Interchange in Harare are ongoing.

These and other projects undertaken to date are enhancing internal connectivity as well as establishing Zimbabwe as a regional gateway into the Continent.

I commend the youth for volunteering their services in the construction of projects being financed under the Devolution Funds, across our wards and districts.

The clinics, classroom blocks and homes for the vulnerable built so far have drastically transformed the landscape across the country’s wards and districts.

In the housing sector, Government is implementing a settlement densification strategy for efficient land utilisation, with focus on high rise flats.

Ladies and Gentlemen;
The education system has undergone revolutionary transformation under the Second Republic following the introduction of Heritage Based 5.0.

Start-up companies are being established at our innovation hubs and industrial parks. The commercialisation of new innovations, products and services is being supported by my Government.

Meanwhile, the new Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy, will enhance industrial productivity and competitiveness of graduates.

The health sector continues to receive funding to cater for the diverse health needs of our people towards universal health coverage.

Resources have been availed for the cholera epidemic preparedness and response plans.

In recognition of the centrality of digital enabled systems, we continue to promote ICTs across our national governance architecture, anchored by the National Data Centre.

The quest to ensure universal access to information for all citizens, has seen my Administration availing resources for the installation of boosters with priority being given to un-serviced parts of the country.

Schools are receiving ICT gadgets for equitable access to technology by our learners, across the country, no matter where they live. The Registrar-General’s Office is issuing e-passports and other national registration documents throughout various parts of the country.

Fellow Citizens;
Political independence without economic independence is incomplete, thus empowerment programmes continue to anchor the Second Republic’s transformation agenda.

We salute the many Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises across the country who are employing thousands of people and ensuring inclusive economic growth.

The Food Deficit Mitigation Programme has been extended to support the vulnerable. Identified orphans and vulnerable children continue to benefit under the Basic Education Assistance Module.

Zimbabweans working in the diaspora remain an asset in our economic development matrix.

The Labour Migration Policy adopted by my Government enhances bilateral agreements with recipient jurisdictions towards the protection of Zimbabweans working abroad.

Elaborate plans are in place to assist those returning from neighbouring countries, incorporating matters related to the welfare of affected children.

Ladies and Gentlemen;
Traditional leaders were key partners during our struggle for Independence and remain an indispensable part of my Administration.

Further, their role in the preservation of our rich cultural heritage is integral. We recognise that some chieftainships were abolished due to their support for the liberation struggle.

Accordingly, my Government has revived chieftainships and appointed the requisite headmen.

The Second Republic stands ready to regularly review the conditions of service of all public sector workers, including through the provision of non-monetary benefits.

As we mark 43 years of Independence, our territorial integrity and sovereignty remains secure due to the unflinching patriotism and vigilance of the brave members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and security sector as a whole. We, therefore, commend and honour their selfless service to our nation.

The innovative and productivity-based resourcing of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund is set to improve the welfare of Veterans, who made immeasurable sacrifices for the independence, freedom and peace we are celebrating today.

Our aim of a drug-free Zimbabwe can only be attained with the involvement of the whole community, beginning at the family level.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police and other security agencies remain seized with the elimination of this scourge and other violent crimes.

Meanwhile, my Administration continues to deliver access to justice to the people by rolling out courts among communities.

Fellow Zimbabweans;
As we gather here in Mount Darwin, across all provinces and indeed throughout the Diaspora, let us rekindle the uniting spirit of our forebears that saw them defeat colonial oppression.

Their selfless sacrifices, unparalleled patriotism and desire to see the people of our great motherland living dignified, empowered and prosperous lives, propelled their quest for Independence.

This gift is sacred and must never be dishonoured. Today, the onus is on us, to work hard towards Vision 2030, in unity, love and harmony. Nyika inovakwa, nevene vayo/ Ilizwe lakhiwa, ngabanikazi balo.

As the Harmonised General Elections draw nearer, I call on the nation to remain vigilant and protect our hard-won Independence.

No voices, foreign or local, inclusive of rogue NGOs, should sow seeds of division and disharmony among us. Unity and peace should be preached in our families, churches and communities. Dialogue and tolerance have been the hallmark of the Second Republic.

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.

As one people, united under one national flag, let us defend and entrench our democracy, which was brought about by the blood, sweat and tears of the vast people of Zimbabwe.

Democracy was not given to us on a silver platter by those who, today, claim to be the champions of human rights. Ours is a history of a struggle for the return of our stolen kingdom; return of our dignity and pride; a return of our stolen land. The Land Reform remains irreversible.

The Independence we are celebrating today is sealed with blood. None but ourselves can fight back neo-colonialism and those bent on setting up surrogate entities over our land. Nyika inotongwa nevene vayo, Ilizwe libuswa ngabanikazi balo.

As we go to elections, let us all affirm this with our vote and declare that:
Zimbabwe shall forever be free.

Zimbabwe shall forever be sovereign.
Zimbabwe shall forever be independent.
Happy 43rd Independence Anniversary Zimbabwe, Makorokoto, Amhlophe!
Long Live Our Independence!
Long Live Zimbabwe!
God bless you all.
God bless Zimbabwe.

I thank you.