Mugabe calls for concerted development efforts as Zim celebrates 37 years of independence

Harare – Zimbabwe on Tuesday celebrated 37 years of independence from British colonial rule with President Robert Mugabe saying the freedom remained incomplete until the country attains full economic development and its citizens prosper.
The 65 000-seater the National Sports Stadium, the venue for the national celebrations, was full to capacity with hundreds others who could no longer be accommodated locked outside the giant arena.
Cheeky late comers scaled over security barriers to make sure they caught a glimpse of the festivities which dominated by displays from Zimbabwe’s armed forces.
Addressing the multitude, President Mugabe said Zimbabweans had sacrificed life and limb in the liberation struggle to attain independence and sovereignty.
And since independence in 1980, government had implemented various programmes such as the land reform programme, aimed at empowering the people and improving their socio-economic lives.
“But the assignment is not yet complete,” he said. “It is still incumbent upon us to translate into true meaning, that freedom, sovereignty and independence so it can have the meaning we desire.”
President Mugabe rallied Zimbabweans to remain united and maintain peace even as the country heads for elections in 2018.
“As we today celebrate our hard won independence, I urge you to remain vigilant, remembering that the enemy is ever ready to pounce on any signs of laxity,” he said.
“We celebrate as a united people, who should at all times hold dear peace and tranquility, the cornerstone requirements of our national economic development.”
Turning to performance of the economy, President Mugabe said the country was expecting a bumper harvest, with the agriculture sector poised to grow by 12 percent this year following abundant rains the country received.
He said a lot more was expected from the mining sector, which is currently contributing over 50 percent of the country’s exports while efforts to promote improved productivity in the manufacturing sector were bearing fruit as capacity utilisation was up to nearly 50 percent from around 34 percent in 2015.
Different initiatives were being pursued to spur development in the tourism, energy and small medium enterprises sectors and boost their contribution to economic development, he said.
President Mugabe said government had also beat its target to service 25 000 housing stands after it completed 52 000 while there are also plans to develop standalone self-sustaining urban centres as part of overall target to decongest cities and address the housing backlog.
President Mugabe lauded the defence forces for maintaining peace in the country, safeguarding its territorial integrity and national sovereignty. – New Ziana.

April 2017
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