HARARE— ZIMBABWEANS yesterday on celebrated its annual Heroes Day to honour fallen sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the country from British imperial rule in 1980, while those in SA celebrated Women’s Day.
President Robert Mugabe led the main celebrations at the National Heroes Acre in Harare where he paid tribute to the fallen heroes and urged the nation to remain vigilant and safeguard the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
In his wide ranging speech, the veteran leader said despite limited resources, government would strive to improve socio-economic conditions for better livelihoods.
He reiterated government commitment to improving living conditions of the people and promised the nation that government would soon resolve the challenge of massive dismissal of workers following a recent court ruling allowing companies to dismiss workers on three months’ notice.
Describing part of the law allowing the dismissals as a “stupid ass”, the president said government would soon take amendments on the Labor Act to Parliament for ratification as part of measures to address the challenge of the arbitrary dismissals.
“The Bill will ensure that there is fairness not just on the part of employers but also fairness that they shall will not just dismiss workers anyhow because they want to widen their margins of profits. No we say no to that. We will protect workers legally,” Mugabe said.
Following the court ruling last month, close to 20,000 workers have since been fired in a development that will further increase unemployment levels in the ailing economy.
Government puts unemployment levels at 11 percent but independent economist estimated it at above 80 percent.
The president said economic revival was government’s top priority, adding that investors from friendly countries were welcome to partner the government in exploiting natural resources to grow the economy.
“We invite investors from abroad especially from friendly countries to come and join us in partnerships so that we can transform our economy,” Mugabe said.
He said his government, which has enacted a black empowerment law requiring foreign companies to cede majority shareholding to locals, was willing to listen to investor concerns to promote foreign investment in the country.
The country’s foreign direct investment has remained negligibly low over the past decade, standing at 542 million U.S. dollars in 2014 from 400 million dollars the previous year largely due to unfriendly investment policies.
The veteran leader said his government was committed to bringing down the cost of doing business in the country amid poor ranking of the country on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index in which it is placed at number 170 out of 189 economies in 2014.
Meanwhile, the president said the remains of heroes of the first liberation war against British imperial rule that had been kept in a British Museum will soon be repatriated back home.
During the 1896 war of liberation, the heads of some chiefs and liberation leaders executed by settlers were shipped to London as war trophies. – ANA