THIS week, Wednesday, we celebrate the 38th anniversary of our independence and democracy. This is a special day that gives the people and the leadership room to introspect on the journey travelled so far.
It is time for us to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions about the state of our hard won Independence, sovereignty and democracy.
What has been done right and what has not been in line with the principles of the liberation struggle? What needs to be rectified so that the Independence celebrations are held with the deserved pomp and ceremony?
Government, the people and relevant stakeholders know that it is an open secret that more needs to be done in order to preserve the sanctity of this day, especially on the economic front where people’s livelihoods need to be transformed.
That said, the 38th anniversary will be different in that it comes at a time the nation has resolved to restore the legacy of the liberation struggle that was under threat from the excesses of counter-revolutionaries who had wormed their way into the top echelons of Zanu-PF and Government.
This culminated in Operation Restore Legacy whose high point was the resignation of former president Mr Robert Mugabe.
As one of the founding fathers of our young nation, he is still well-regarded as an icon of the Second and Third Chimurenga’s, but one who had surrounded himself with all manner of crooks.
The 38th Independence celebrations will be held exactly five months after Operation Restore Legacy, when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces had to intervene to rescue the internecine situation obtaining in the ruling Zanu-PF party and Government.
The military made it quite clear that their intervention did not constitute a military take over, but as stockholders of the governance process, they could not continue to watch as the very fabric of what they fought for was being shredded to pieces by elements bent on destroying both the former President Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s legacies.
The intervention resulted in a new Government led by former Vice President Mnangagwa and his deputies — General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) and Kembo Mohadi. It is a new dispensation, with a new administration working very hard to ensure that when we talk about Independence, it is not a by-word, but that people are seen to be enjoying the fruits of that Uhuru.
People are currently facing a myriad of challenges — most of them economic. Indeed, most of them now have land, thanks to the land reform programme. Although initiatives such as Command Agriculture have gone a long way to ensure food security at household and national levels, a lot more needs to be done, especially in the area of accessing capital by farmers.
Thus we hope that President Mnangagwa and his administration will take this — the first opportunity to lead the Independence celebrations — to ensure that people understand what happened on November 15, 2017, which led to his assumption of the Presidency on November 24 and to outline what his Government has achieved since November 2017.
Just like 1980, when a roadmap for the new nation was laid out and the hand of reconciliation was extended to the former enemy, President Mnangagwa and his lieutenants are keen on getting Zimbabwe out of the woods.
People need to be practically guided on issues such as, it’s no longer business as usual, foreign direct investment, Zimbabwe opening up to do business with the outside world.
Years of unfulfilled promises made people sceptical. Initiatives being made to transform the economy and people’s lives need a buy-in from ordinary people in both urban and rural areas.
The bottom line is that people need decent lifestyles that are commensurate with the rich mineral and natural resources the country is endowed with. On this day, they want to remember the thousands of lives lost during the struggle with pride, because their lifestyles would be testimony of why their children took up guns to fight the settler colonialists. This is work in progress.
But, this 38th Independence, let there be a paradigm shift in terms of how people view the founding values and pillars of our nation.
It is indeed time to restore legacy.