Zimbabwe Independence – Why 31st anniversar​y must be celebrated

OPINION – The spirit and excitement of independence celebration has been steadily fizzling out starting from the late 80s but worsened in the last decade for obvious reasons.

Recollection of the majority of youths in and around Harare is that April 18 is a rare opportunity and generous occasion to enjoy free top-flight soccer at the National Sports or Rufaro stadium. Those who still attach some historical importance to the day have largely drifted from celebration to commemoration, particularly in the Diaspora.

This year, Zimbabweans across the political, religious and geographical divide have every reason to come out in formidable numbers and celebrate our 31st independence anniversary in style. Let the National Sports Stadium fill to the brim and roar with thunder, let all cities and provinces shine like a Christmas tree, let there be a smile on every Zimbabwean face as we mark this very symbolic occasion.

Some of you might be wondering where this positivity emanates from; 2011/12 is promising to be the most crucial turning point in post-independence Zimbabwe. Recent and current events at home, within the region and beyond, are all indicative of one thing; being the advent of a new direction for our potentially great nation. Chances are that by the time we celebrate the same event next year, there will be a new “first tenant” at State House. Through voluntary retirement, natural attrition, succession dynamics, free and fair elections or a combination of these factors, a new face is now destined for the highest office in the land in the coming 12 months or so.

While independence events in the recent past have been literally high-jacked by one political party, in pretty much the same way the national shrine has been usurped and rebranded, this year, Zimbabweans cannot afford to stay at home while the nation is witnessing the end of an era and the dawn of another. We are practically into the holy season characterised with the last supper, both politically and spiritually.

Warning shots from North Africa, Middle East and now Ivory Coast, together with Sadc’s recalibration of tone and strategy, give credence to this hypothesis. I will avoid any speculation on the popular Singapore destination as the myth has had more than enough coverage elsewhere.

“My fellow countrymen and women, our youth (indeed Zimbabwe’s future) and comrades in the long struggle, I stand before you today as a proud leader and unwavering servant of the people. I’ve been on this tedious journey for nearly half a century starting with my humble beginnings as an ordinary teacher which saw me expatriated to West Africa where my political formation began in earnest. I then returned home to join gallant fighters and founding fathers who were already in the trenches. Courageously, we never looked back until we attained our freedom which we venerate today. I will not repeat the rest of the history that I have no doubt you all know.

On this day, the 18th of April 2011, with a very heavy but satisfied heart, I bid farewell to you all. There is no better time to concentrate on my memoirs than now. I have realised that comrade Shamu hasn’t been doing much in this area though it was on this basis that I accepted his resignation from active politics even before we had not taken the struggle to its logical conclusion, being land reform and economic empowerment. Having done what I set out to do, I will now be leading from behind, just as Madiba and Mwalimu did before going into full retirement in a few months. But one thing to remember and I swear by my mother, Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again. Mai Mujuru nemi Save, hero basa!” 

As we all know, history is often made by those who take risks under conditions of extreme uncertainly. But in this case, history would have been made under conditions of extreme certainly; a new pilot in the national cockpit within the coming year or so. Let  April 18 be our day!

chambokom@gmail.com