Let us hold 1970s war sacrifices dear

HARARE - Zimabwe's independence was achieved following sacrifices by thousands of men and women who participated in the protracted war of liberation.

It is not only those who were involved in armed combat who made the sacrifices but millions of other Zimbabweans took part, including the ordinary citizen who provided food and key information for use by the freedom fighters in the 1970s war against the racist regime of Ian Smith.

As the country commemorates Heroes Day today, every citizen must remember that we owe the freedom we enjoy today to these sacrifices. This is not to suggest that Zimbabweans gloss over the problems the country is facing simply because of these sacrifices.

Somehow, these sacrifices must also make the leadership self-introspect and ask themselves whether what they are doing is consistent with the desires of those who fought for the country’s independence.

What we were witnessing during the reign of former president Robert Mugabe represented a departure from liberation war ideals. Mugabe had extinguished all the zeal and euphoria in Zimbabweans at independence through destructive populist policies that have since come back to haunt the nation.

When Mugabe resigned following a military intervention and an impeachment process in November last year, Zimbabwe was a mere shadow of what it was at independence.
Other African leaders then, especially the late former Tanzanian president Julius “Mwalimu” Nyerere, had even referred to the country as a “jewel” Mugabe was to guard jealously. Sadly, that was not to be.

As we write, the country has just emerged from harmonised elections held on July 30.

Incidentally, universal suffrage was one of the key reasons why the war of liberation was fought, over and above other freedoms that were not enjoyed by the majority black population of the country.

The disparities in the land tenure system obtaining then remained a central demand of the majority blacks.

The current impasse involving the outcome of the elections must not distract Zimbabweans at all.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to push the country forward.

This will not happen if people get distracted. We need each other for Zimbabwe to move ahead. There is nothing that will beat unity for the country to achieve its objectives — those that will lead to better lives for all citizens.

This change in the social lives of the people is long overdue.

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