Diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe have expressed confidence in the new political dispensation’s ability to foster the much needed economic, political and social transformation in the country.
Zimbabwe celebrated 38 years of freedom from its coloniser, Britain, on Wednesday for the first time under the rule of President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was elected into office five months ago.
In separate interviews at the independence celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on Wednesday, the diplomats congratulated the nation for attaining its independence.
Dean of African diplomats and Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mwawampanga Mwanananga, said as Zimbabwe celebrates 38 years of independence, it should focus on utilising its resources to get back its former glory in the region.
“Leaders come and go but the country continues. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces should be appreciated for giving the founding father, former President Mugabe, a deserved rest. We have seen in other countries people losing lives but this did not happen here when the political transition took place. What is needed is for people to stop pointing fingers at each other but move forward as a nation.
He said the country is poised for economic growth as evidenced by President Mnangagwa’s goodwill to engage former foes.
“Zimbabwe is now opening its doors to former enemies like the United States of America, and the Commonwealth, and this will bring good things. But more important than that, I think there is enough ingenuity and enough resources for this country to take off. The missing link up to now has been governance, not in Mugabe per se but with the people surrounding him. Zimbabweans must now come together, unite and build the country,” he said.
Namibia's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Balbina Pienaar, said her country was confident of the country’s prospects of excelling under the new administration.
“Namibia is excited to witness Zimbabwe’s celebrations for 38 years of independence after the new political administration took over. We say makorokoto, amhlophe it’s a new beginning. The mantra President Mnangagwa started with, 'Zimbabwe is open for business', truly speaks for itself. It has already unlocked visible interest in the country. One can see the flow of foreign direct investments and commitments to invest in Zimbabwe. Foreign direct investment is almost even more than the national budget as it stands. So l can see a very positive future in terms of economic development and restoring the socio-economic development in the country. The political will to re-engage the international community must also be commended.
“Zimbabwe and Namibia share a very strong and well cemented political history. Bilaterally we have well operational systems in place and Zimbabwe’s achievements and growth are also ours. The commitment to grow the country’s economy will benefit the entire region,” she said.
Emmanuel Chenda, the Zambian ambassador, urged Zimbabweans to work together with government to reshape the country’s economic trajectory.
“It’s a great day and l would like to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for attaining 38 years of independence. Special notice to this year’s celebrations is that they come after the ushering in of the new dispensation which is the birth of the country. This is an opportunity for Zimbabweans to renew your objectives and ask yourselves what it is that you can do to make the country better. It’s also an opportunity for thanksgiving for the great sacrifice by the people who perished for this independence. We wish success for the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
South African ambassador Mphakama Mbete applauded President Mnangagwa for fostering peace in the country.
“The smooth and peaceful transition into a new political dispensation is highly commendable. The independence celebrations are magnanimous, impressive and we are happy that Zimbabwe has reached 38 years of self-rule,” he said.
Mbete’s comments were echoed by Kenya’s top diplomat Lucy Chelimo who pledged her country’s commitment in assisting President Mnangagwa to achieve his goals to develop the nation.
“Independence day is always a day to reflect on those who lost their lives for us. It is something to safeguard so that we continue enjoying our freedom. I would like to congratulate President Mnangagwa for celebrating his first independence day as President. Also, I pledge Kenya’s support to ensure he delivers his promise to Zimbabweans,” he said.