Real heroes deserve respect

HARARE - It is fashionable to overstate the idea of heroes in our culture today as Zanu PF takes charge of the whole programme trivialising national interests for their parochial gains.

Not surprisingly there are countless heroes who have become lost or forgotten, since the country obtained its independence 32 years ago.

Such people may not have the glittering liberation war record as that which the late General Solomon Mujuru had, but still they are heroes whose heroic deeds have been overshadowed by selfish interests of those who remain behind as they choose to satisfy only their needs.

War veterans living or dead deserve our respect and it is not enough for the government to recognise only those who today rest at the National Heroes’ Acre and support their families but forget the unsung heroes whose contributions to Zimbabwe are equally as important.

It is no secret today that thousands of people whose lives were directly or indirectly involved in the liberation struggle are living in squalid conditions as the same government that trumpets the heroes mantra forgets them.

Their children have dropped out of school and the government seems to only care for a few rented war veterans who are more famous for propping up President Robert Mugabe than serving the people of Zimbabwe.

Villagers in Dotito or Chendambuya who were the water in which the war veterans swam in; have been forgotten by the government and live in squalor, they will not be part of the celebrations of the Heroes’ Day celebrations for to them the whole event is a meaningless charade. How can people celebrate their heroes when the living heroes have failed to deliver and seem to thrive on their poverty?

Why should people respect soldiers and admire them when the same army is notorious for interfering in civilian matters such as the population census which was almost abandoned as the security sector sought to take part.

People like Mugabe who were heroes once should never forget the major objective of the Heroes’ Day which is to bring true heroes back into the spotlight.

The Heroes’ Day can plant the seeds for the growth of real heroes for the future.

There is no doubt people like Herbert Chitepo, Nikita Mangena, Joshua Nkomo and many others buried today at the Heroes’ Arce are embodiments of heroes, their families are better off and it is commendable the government at least remembers to take care of their families.

However, government should extend the same welfare responsibility to every person who took part in the liberation struggle and not necessarily to people who are aligned to Zanu PF.

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