“The heroes in the struggle for democracy, human rights, equality or any attempt to remind government of who it serves are those organisations on the ground.
“The real heroes today in Zimbabwe are the leaders of youth organisations and other Human rights organisations in Zimbabwe, those who work tirelessly to create a space for young voice and alternative voices.
“The media practitioners whose duty is that of giving information to the nation and the world at large are unsung heroes of this nation,” Ambassador Ray told reporters at a function in Harare Wednesday when he was receiving a Diplomatic Defender of Human Rights Award for 2011 from a Kwekwe based Zimbabwe Organisation for Youth in politics, ZOYP.
The year 2011 saw a number of Human Rights defenders, who include lawyers and journalists being arrested despite the existence of the Global Political Agreement the base of the coalition government which discourages human rights abuses.
Organisations like the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the Zimbabwe Peace Projects which have some of their leaders arrested for demanding democracy, have been vocal throughout the year challenging GPA principals to quickly implement the pact.
Commenting on his overall assessment of the year 2011 Ambassador Ray said he predict a bright Zimbabwean economy if politicians stop bickering.
“Despite the fact that 2011 had far or less incidences of political violence than it was in 2008 unfortunately, the biggest achievement of the nation is the economy although it did not grow as much as it would have been despite setbacks there was a possible positive future, “he added.
Handing over the Diplomatic Defender of Human Rights Award to Ambassador Ray Zimbabwe Organisation for Youth in politics founder Emmanuel Moyo said they were impressed with the US ambassador’s youth empowerment passion.
“As an organisation we were touched by your plight to uplift youths through Youth Dialogues which you initiated throughout the country including remote and marginalised areas such as Binga. This bravery and passion you have if our local politicians had it our nation will be somewhere now in terms of democracy, peace and development.
“ We also note concern and courage which you demonstrated this year when you came to Kwekwe and some violent youths disrupted the meeting which you had come to address through our invitation, but you did not lose heart despite the danger which was imminent, “Moyo said.