Present day Zim betrays our Heroes' vision, promise

HARARE - As Zimbabweans today commemorate the 36th Heroes Day meant to salute the commitment of the gallant sons and daughters to the struggle for Independence during which thousands perished, commentators are of the feeling that it is a day to mourn because, for ordinary Zimbabweans, there is nothing to celebrate.

Most people interviewed by the Daily News felt the present day Zimbabwe is not what the freedom fighters fought for as the whole nation is enveloped in poverty and suffering.

Social commentator Masimba Biriwasha said we must separate the true essence of the heroism that brought liberation from the modern day oppression by erstwhile leaders who hark back to days of the liberation struggle for their own convenience.

“We must not forget all the sacrifices that were made because a few of our selfish leaders want to hijack our freedom.

“Therefore as diligent Zimbabweans on this auspicious day we must strive to separate the wheat from the chaff, celebrate sacrifices that were made and instill in ourselves the knowledge that the fight is not complete yet.

“We have to soldier till we make the promise of freedom that the true heroes in all spheres paid the ultimate price becomes a living reality in our lifetime,” said Biriwasha.

Journalist Vivian Maravanyika said the liberators have to question consciously who they fought for. “Did they fight for the elite bunch in Zanu PF or for the masses of Zimbabwe? They went to war to give the black person the right to vote freely, to stop government persecution, to give economic freedom to each and every one.

“They didn't fight to free Zimbabwe and then see families split and scattering all over the world because they are no jobs. They didn't fight to see black on black violence and the denigration of human rights.

“And most importantly I don't think anyone anticipated that one man would be in power for 36 years,” said Maravanyika.

He added that Zimbabwe of today doesn't justify the sons and daughters of this country who perished and never made it back home after 1980.  “Most of their mothers and fathers are wallowing in dire poverty. These gallant fighters who are still with us should revisit what made them cross the borders and compare with what Zimbabwe is facing today.”

Mining activist Farai Maguwu said as we remember those who fell during the liberation struggle let us also remember that their wish to see a free Zimbabwe has not yet been accomplished.

“And 36 years after independence Zimbabwe is fast sinking into the abyss. The country needs a second liberation from its black oppressors.

“New heroes and heroines will emerge, inspired by our fallen heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice to free our country from colonial damnation. Let us finish what they started.”

Playwright Silvanos Mudzvova said: “I totally thank them for the role they played in liberating us but they should not make us suffer forever because they liberated us.

“They fought for the betterment of everyone not for them to oppress fellow Zimbabweans. As we celebrate heroes they should at least have a minute, just a minute for them to reflect what kind of life Zimbabweans are living and after that minute they should join the masses in the call that Mugabe must step down for a better heroes next year.”

Songstress Diana Samkange said: “I am celebrating this Heroes Day not on the political aspect but that I am celebrating the meaning of the holiday because our heroes need to be celebrated. They brought liberation from our colonisers and for that we need to celebrate them.”

Guitarist Gwenya-gitare Mono said: “My message to Zimbabweans and the freedom fighters is the same since the fighters did not fight alone, the masses fought too - my message is may what you fought for be fulfilled.”

Journalist Tichaona Sibanda said: “My message to Zimbabwe is let us pray for the emerging heroes, the dreamers who are trying to make our country a better place than when they found it. But also Heroes Day allows us to remember our fallen heroes, our loved ones who paid the ultimate price.”

Political activist Tabani Moyo said the gallant fighters for the liberation of Zimbabwe from colonial yoke played a heroic and critical part in the History of Zimbabwe.

“They did so with the hope that Zimbabwe's future would be bright and usher a future of endless opportunities for generations.

“However, the present day Zimbabwe betrays this vision and promise as it is enveloped in poverty, hunger, suffering and clientele state captured by powerful elite serving its own narrow interests,” said Moyo.

He added that this therefore calls “for a new generation of youth and gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe to define a new self-liberation path to rapture Zimbabwe from the current small click of greedy, corrupt and gluttonous elite with a runaway sense of entitlement.”

Human rights activist Dewa Mavhinga said Heroes Day is not a day to celebrate but to mourn because, for ordinary Zimbabweans, there is nothing to celebrate.

“Only the political elite with close connections to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are truly free, above the law, economically empowered and living lavish lifestyles of flying to go shopping or to clinic overseas.

“For you and me, the suffering continues, and it is worse because we are suffering at the hands of our liberators,” said Mavhinga.

He added that daily people are protesting and asking their government to listen, but instead, the government unleashes violent police and throws people in jail for asking for jobs, food, justice, and an end to corruption.

“Our heroes, those who gave their lives to liberate Zimbabwe, they did not fight for a few to oppress the majority. Unless we are all free and have food on our tables, and can send our children to school, and are confident about the future, there is no reason to celebrate.”

Political commentator Mcdonald Lewanika said the vision of the Zimbabwe the liberation war fighters fought for is off track but is not lost.

“They have a chance to make amends while they still live. Some of the freedom fighters died for the vision of a free independent Zimbabwe free from want, political persecution and tyranny at the hands of a few.”

Arts practitioner Josh Nyapimbi said: “We cannot throw away the gains made since 1980 with the forgivable mistakes made during the same period. It takes a positive outlook into the future for a better Zimbabwe. Let's overcome evil with good. The future is bright.”

Comedian Edgar Langeveldt said as Christ laid down his perfect life for our salvation, our gallant warriors who looked up to heaven for help drew their last breath and plunged into fiery flames.

“Zimbabwe, they only had you, me and tomorrow in mind. May their souls rest in peace and may our actions be guided by their sacrifice. May history judge that never was there a people so lavishly loved and equally responsible,” said Langeveldt.

Journalist Njabulo Nube said as we celebrate the heroes that freed us citizens must demand alignment of laws with new constitution. “The slow pace of the process has resulted in the denial of certain freedoms enshrined in constitution, freedoms of media, freedom of association, expression, assembly, things which our fathers died during the war of liberation. It hurts that citizens continue to be trodden upon yet we have a constitution which gives certain rights.”

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “We salute the gallant sons and daughters of the soil who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that Zimbabwe attained independence on April 18 1980.

“The MDC joins millions of other Zimbabweans in celebrating and commemorating Heroes Day. We call upon all Zimbabweans to be united and to shun all forms of evil things such as racism, tribalism, regionalism, sexism and corruption. United we stand and divided we fall,” said Gutu.

Political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya had a word of advice to our heroes: “Be honest to yourselves. Escape from the comatose of denialism and re-boot your freedom values.”

Mbira playmaker Albert Chimedza could only say it was now “time to deal with colonial trauma and mental decolonization.”

Misa-Zimbabwe administrator Annie Musodza said as we celebrate Heroes Day she strongly feels that our heroes and heroines have been turned into mercenaries of sorts.

“We are suffering because of their continued endorsement of the President when clearly they can see that at his advanced age, he is no longer in touch with reality, hence the suffering we are experiencing.

“It is time our living heroes and heroines realise that there is need to have new ideas. They did their part and we honour and respect them for that but it is time to hand over to the younger generation with new and better ideas of how to run a modern day country in the global village.

“To Zimbabweans - keep up the momentum. A wise person once said it is darkest before dawn. We should keep fighting, praying,” said Musodza.

Chipawo manager Chipo Basopo said: “Let there be peace on our country, let’s love each other and have respect for each other.

“Our demands for accountability and transparency should be respected, corruption in all sectors should be dealt with.

“Zimbabwe can become better again for both our heroes, heroines and the citizenry of this beautiful nation. Our children need a better country.”

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