It is in the furtherance of that latter spirit that as Government and your foremost interlocutors we have thought it prudent to brief you on the events of the past three days that followed the nationwide stay away, which as you will acknowledge was characterized by unprecedented violence.
At the outset you will all agree with me that it is the primary duty of Government to ensure that its citizens are secure and able to fully exercise their rights, including the right to protest albeit in a peaceful manner and not impinge on the rights of other citizens or threaten the security of the state.
As you will all have witnessed, the recent stay away was neither civil nor peaceful and was characterized by the worst violence that this nation has witnessed in the recent past. Right from the start, the stay away was characterized by horrific scenes of attacks on other citizens, police and law and order institutions and infrastructure, general arson on state and private citizen businesses, looting, criminality and general terror, perpetrated mostly by organized youth terror and vigilante groups.
The Government is convinced that the protests had the hallmarks of a predetermined political agenda and that the identity of the personas and powers behind them is common knowledge. The law and order authorities with the assistance of other security agencies want to assure the nation that they are in full control of the situation and that the security of peace loving citizens is guaranteed, and that the situation has returned back to normalcy.
The Government is saddened to inform the nation at large and you all esteemed Ambassadors, that the violence occasioned by the stay away resulted in the loss of life of at least 3 persons including a policeman, who was murdered in the most brutal and barbaric way, by stoning. These inhumane acts deserve condemnation. There was also wanton destruction of private and state property, including motor vehicles, buildings, shops, police stations, road infrastructure such as toll gates and fuel stations. Such violent behaviour has no place in a civilized world.
The Government wishes to expresses its deep and sincere condolences to the families of all those who lost loved ones in the senseless violence. Government unreservedly condemns the perpetrators of these barbaric acts. We want to assure the nation and you all that all those responsible for this criminality will be brought to book and face the full wrath of the law.
The Government is also keenly aware that the recent confrontation has been fomented by “extraneous” forces guised as civil society groups or non-governmental organizations in the pursuit of a nefarious agenda of unseating a constitutional Government.
While the new dispensation has opened democratic space and continues to guarantee civil and political freedoms enshrined in the country’s constitution, it will not brook interference in its domestic affairs from any quarters whatsoever. This is as you are all aware, a universal principle governing international relations globally.
The afore, not withstanding, let me reiterate that as Government we cherish the friendly relations we have with all of you and appreciate the continued friendship and assistance to our nation. We are thus determined to continue deepening the cordial relations between Zimbabwe and your individual countries and institutions.
As you will appreciate, the Government of the Second Republic has set itself a very ambitious yet achievable national goal, that is “Vision 2030”. This is the country’s pathway to economic recovery through clearly laid out sustainability programmes, that were announced on the presentation of the 2019 national budget by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in November 2018.
That programme has been dubbed “austerity for prosperity” as it will entail some inescapable hardships on the part of the nation in order to enjoy prosperity later. Dialectics from such a mammoth undertaking are obvious, but these are expected and universal and should not be the reason for “half measures”.
In the words of the President Cde E.D. Mnangagwa “We should remain focused on the national vision, that of an upper middle income economy by 2030”, where all citizens are free and prosperous. Faith, conviction and determination will enable us as nation to reach our esteemed goal. I want to reassure you that no amount of distraction, whether political or otherwise will shift our attention from the goals and path that we have set for ourselves. As in the past, we count on your invaluable support and cooperation in achieving this noble goal.
Before concluding let me underline that the President and the entire Government is not oblivious to the current difficulties and in some cases, the dire circumstances that confront our nation, and would like to reassure that Government will continuously intervene with mitigatory, measures to ease any pain and difficulties thence.
In conclusion, let me again appreciate the support and cooperation that our country continues to enjoy with all nations of good will and want to assure you all that this friendship inspires us even more. With your assistance, the new dispensation will take this great nation to the heights of “Vision 2030”.
I thank you.