As I indicated in my inaugural speech, I am President for all Zimbabweans. I embark on my second term anchored and straitjacketed by the philosophy of an approachable, listening, servant leadership, committed to serving all Zimbabweans in equal measure, and to developing our nation so no one and no place is left behind.
You voted for continuity, fully convinced and confident that our Vision 2030, through which we aim for an upper middle-income economy, holds real promise and enormous possibilities for everyone, regardless of tribe, region, race, class or creed. A clean and efficient Government remains the key instrument for delivering that Vision. I promise to preside over a Government with a clear mission, a Government which delivers on its mandate, and is a trusted partner and responsive agent for balanced development reaching the length and breadth of our nation.
Vision 2030 straddles three political terms, the first of which began in 2018 and ended this year, just before our Harmonised Elections. We have just begun the second term, which ends two years shy of 2030, the year our Vision is scheduled to run its full, programmed course.
This makes the current term decisive in actualising the broad goals of our Vision. My commitment is to ensure that our Vision is realised two years ahead of its due date. It is a pledge and hope arising from a hard-headed look at what, together, we have been able to accomplish in the last five years which have gone by. The progress has been both foundational and phenomenal, thus justifying my optimism, and making the realisation of our Vision quite feasible. I know that with greater will and focus, we are able to quicken our development pace, thus hastening the realisation of all our goals.
We need to work together, including across the political divide. I intend to re-instate the Framework for Political Actors Dialogue, POLAD. It served us remarkably well in the last five years, helping us to find each other across the political divide, thus conceiving policies for our nation collectively. To that end, I shall be inviting leaders of all political parties who participated in the just-ended harmonised elections so, together, we refashion the Framework in order to make it more responsive and better able to serve the times and our nation.
I trust that my invitation will be welcomed by most, if not all, political actors. Party politics must never stand in the way, or make us deaf to the call to work together for the collective good of our people and our nation. Zimbabwe is our country together. Inotongwa, igovakwa uye igonamatirwa nevene vayo!
A key test to genuine realisation of Vision 2030 will be our rural areas, where over 60 percent of our people live. Our rural communities measure the depth and breadth of lack of even development, and the cost of rural exclusion in development. Shunned by successive colonial governments, our rural areas are a sample of denied development which gave rise to rural underdevelopment we inherited from colonialism.
Except all this need not remain so. We cannot continue to blame our colonial past for rural ills. It is as if we doubt our own agency as makers of an alternative history which lift our people and communities. Our nation must change course by taking responsibility over these rural backwaters which we now must challenge through a new model of development.
Time has now come to go beyond community development for a comprehensive programme of rural capacitation and empowerment. Towards the tail-end of the just-ended term, I broached the idea of rural transformation and empowerment through rural industrialisation. This is our panacea to rural underdevelopment. That idea’s time has now come and, going forward, rural Industrialisation must now become the centrepiece of our development plans. Continued next page