AS we celebrated on Tuesday 37 years of Independence from colonial rule, I thought of the thousands of war heroes who died during the liberation struggle and national heroes like former Vice-president Joshua Nkomo, Zanla commander Josiah Tongogara, Zipra commander Lookout Masuku and Herbert Chitepo, who now must be turning in their graves as Zimbabwe has frightfully become the exact opposite of what they fought for.
Candid Comment Faith Zaba
Zimbabwe is now almost a replica of the Rhodesian police state liberation war combatants despised; marked by gross human rights abuses, repression and intimidation of those expressing dissent to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s tyranny. Economic degeneration has worsened poverty, widely shown by rampant unemployment levels.
Impoverishment in the country has more than tripled between 1990 and now from around 25% to more than 90%.
Around 96% of those living in rural areas are forced to live on less than US$1 per day. Joblessness, which according to the International Labour Organisation stands at 95%, continues to escalate due to endless company closures and massive retrenchments.
Vendor population, which includes graduates, has swelled across all cities, pointing to government’s dismal policy failure. Ironically, Zimbabweans are suffering despite the country boasting of vast and rich mineral resources.
In a letter to Mugabe dated June 7 1983, while in exile in the United Kingdom, Nkomo said: “I write because I feel that our country is in danger of complete disintegration, to the detriment of all its citizens now living and of generations to come.
“This is not government; it is the abuse of government, an abuse which transforms the rule of law into the law of rule. As such it cannot lead to a free, united, peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe. But to one in which oppression, division, violence and poverty will shadow all our hopes, and make a mockery of the freedom struggle in which so many heroes gave their lives,” he added.
Indeed, Zimbabwe has really become a travesty and unimaginable given the sacrifice the majority made to liberate it. That we are now commemorating this great achievement, which has become synonymous with poverty, is a total injustice.
The country’s hard-won Independence has been corrupted, bastardised and reduced to a mockery; a complete farce. War combatants fought for prosperity and emancipation. Certainly, Independence was not meant to perpetuate suffering and force disgruntled citizens into exile.
After inheriting an economy whose currency was stronger than the United States dollar and at par with the British pound, no one could imagine the country would be crippled to become a “goat” economy without its own currency.
Independence is now an empty shell and travesty of what could have been, with nothing to show for the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters and rural folk who bore the brunt of the liberation struggle. Nkomo warned in 1980 that Zimbabwe should be careful not to elect another Idi Amin.