Independence Supplement: Zim marches on

Political Editor
The day is finally here.

Independence Day is not just another holiday.

It presents a unique opportunity for the nation to celebrate and reflect on the importance of independence when the great crossover from colonialism was made.

It also gives a sense of perspective and direction that the country should take.

On midnight on April 17 1980, the blight of the British flag, the Union Jack, was removed from the land of Zimbabwe following 90 years of colonialism. It was met with jubilation through festivities that were capped by the performance by Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley.

Tears of joy were shed for a free Zimbabwe.

Hopes were raised high. That was what liberation had come to be, a reality that would not be lost in the long dark night of brutal, murderous colonialism. Fifty thousand people lost their lives for Zimbabwe.

These unfortunate people were mainly unarmed civilians that the barbaric settlers slaughtered and dumped in mass graves and mine shafts. Some murders and acts of terror were even committed in front people as the repressive regime sought to cow the heroic people of Zimbabwe.

On the battlefield, though, the war was won by the gallant soldiers of the people under the banners of Zanla and Zipra, the respective military wings of the revolutionary parties Zanu and Zapu.

The barrel of the gun restored to the people what they lost to the settlers and set new opportunities for the indigenous people.

The colonial regimes had consistently denied black people their rights and deprived them of the basic necessities such as education, health, justice, democracy and human rights.

The new Government had its work cut out – and delivered.

It set itself to dismantle the colonial behemoth and reformed every sector from civil service to developing infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and clinics to cater for the previously marginalised majority.

The Government touted itself to be one of inclusivity by way of socialist, gutsaruzhinji, policies.

The same policies find echo in the land reform programme that resettled hundreds of thousands of black families who were previously marginalised by a handful of whites who stole Zimbabwe’s land; as well as the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme that seeks to make Zimbabweans bigger economic players.

The first decade of Independence laid a firm foundation for Zimbabwe which has remained unshaken by the depredations first of the Bretton Woods prescriptions which tried to steer the Government from taking care of its people; and secondly from the harmful interference of the erstwhile colonisers.

Zimbabwe, as it celebrates 35 years of Independence, has had the past 15 years disturbed by illegal sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and their allies.

However, the remarkable thing is that Zimbabwe has stood firm, owing to the firm foundation on which it was built.

In other times and places, regime change could have been achieved with the removal of the party of Independence, Zanu-PF and its replacement by the quisling MDC.

It has not happened, thankfully, and it all owes to the appeal of the ruling party of liberation as well as the social and political foundation it laid at independence.

The fact that there is a foreign sponsored opposition, which eats from the same plate with a whole phalanx of quislings in the civil society and media, speaks to the democracy that is alive and well in the country.

It could not happen in the previous era.

That is why the Rhodesians killed, maimed and raped people and strongman Ian Smith declared that there would be no majority rule in a thousand years.

The future of the country can only be brighter.

This year’s theme is “Zimbabwe @35: Consolidating Unity, Peace and Economic Sovereignty”.

The theme is vintage Zanu-PF as it falls within its narrative of uniting the populace and fostering harmony among the people while economic sovereignty is not only the buzzword these days but a historical commitment by the ruling party.

With 35 years gone, one can only predict that Zimbabwe is set to achieve more milestones and beat new paths for the people and the continent.

So far so good for Zimbabwe