President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe has made great strides in addressing issues affecting the majority of Zimbabweans, noting that some companies have created jobs in a nation independent analysts claim the unemployment rate is more than 85 percent.
Official statistics have pegged the unemployment rate at slightly more than 11 percent.
Officiating at celebrations to mark Zimbabwe’s 36th independence anniversary today at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, President Mugabe said this achievement was despite the restrictive measures imposed by the West on him and his inner circle.
Although the president said the country’s economic environment was improving, the situation on the ground is on the contrary as evidenced by an unidentified woman who was arrested when Mr. Mugabe arrived at the stadium for demanding food and her “share” of the missing $15 billion diamond money.
The unidentified woman was quickly whisked away into a police truck and nothing more was heard about the fate of the unidentified protestor. Rising unemployment, poverty and the missing diamond proceeds were some of the reasons why thousands of MDC-T supporters took to the streets last week in protest.
Mr. Mugabe said his government is working hard to ensure that all Zimbabweans had access to food as the El Nino-induced drought wreaks havoc in the countryside. The president all urged those in government and other sectors of the economy to shun corruption.
Despite the country’s poor economic performance, Mr. Mugabe said his administration had tried its best to deal with the power outages, water provision and road construction – although much still needs to be done.
The president said his government has also managed to resuscitate several companies that were on the verge of collapsing and opened new entities.
But the country’s main labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, says close to a thousand companies were shut down following the holding of the disputed 2013 national elections won by President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party.
Turning to the country’s 36 years of self-determination, Mr. Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to continuously remember the sacrifices made by the country’s freedom fighters.
Thousands of people, who filled the stadium to capacity, were entertained by several musicians and mass displays.
Some Zimbabweans also today gathered at various centers countrywide to mark 36 years of the country’s attainment of independence from British colonial rule.