Independence did not bring freedoms: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe’s independence did not come with basic freedoms as generally propagated.

“We still have a huge deficit when it comes to respect for human dignity and human rights because we take for granted the people’s basic freedoms of assembly, speech and association,” Tsvangirai said in his Independence Day message.

 As a party to the formation of a post-liberation political movement, the MDC leader said they wanted to complete the unfinished business of the liberation struggle.

“We have sought to complete the meaning of independence to include the basic freedoms which we have starved each other of even after attaining independence, thereby making such an important day hollow and empty despite the bloodshed,” Tsvangirai said.

“The good news  is that this year, our  independence day  is coming after we have overwhelmingly voted for a new constitution — a new charter that will go a long way in addressing the absence of basic freedoms and the deficit of good governance we have endured over the past three decades,” said the former trade union leader.

He said Zimbabwe has collectively set new ground rules and a new value system under which we want to be governed.

“Today we celebrate this Independence Day with much happiness, knowing fully well that we now have an expanded bill of rights, the women have been empowered and never again will we have a national leadership that is not restricted by term limits!”

Tsvangirai said the nation is still yearning to be allowed to fully express itself from time to time to remind the national leadership of the deficit areas that need to be addressed so that independence attains its true meaning and significance.

“Independence starts with the independence and freedom of the nation to collectively express itself, even for change.

“It is in the same spirit of independence that we must all register to vote so that we determine the destiny of our own country.

“So many people lost their lives for this right to vote and we must guard it jealously and exercise it.
“Indeed, they lost life and limb so that the whims of future generations could walk again.”

Tsvangirai urged Zimbabweans to register to vote.

“In this forthcoming election, we have an ample opportunity to further our independence agenda by voting for new ideas that promote democracy and allow us to pursue and live our dreams,” he said.

“Congratulations, Zimbabwe.” - Staff Writer

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