Independence message from Dr Simba Makoni

STATEMENT – On 18 April 1980, when the Union Jack was lowered, and our own Zimbabwean flag was raised, Zimbabweans and other nationalities the world over, were all filled with excitement, joy and high hopes. We all looked forward to a future of peace and harmony, freedom and justice, and equity and prosperity.

Guided by the policy of national reconciliation, we committed ourselves to building an egalitarian non-racial society, where all citizens were equal under the law. We also envisioned a country enjoying friendly, mutually beneficial relations with all regional neighbours, and all other nations of the world.

The leaders of the liberation movement, the combatants who waged the struggle, and all the povo, who performed priceless support functions, will forever remain our revered heroes. We also remember, and are eternally grateful for the invaluable contributions of the Front Line States, the African continent, the progressive governments and international solidarity movements.

In addition to the heroes of the liberation struggle, there are other heroes who, since independence, have contributed immensely to deepening and widening the content and quality of our independent nationhood. They are too many to mention by name. They work in politics, business, the professions, religion, arts, culture and sports. Their contributions to advancing the welfare of Zimbabweans have earned them places in the almanacs of true servants of the people, and their heroism is undeniable and indelible.

Our journey of independent nationhood has traversed varied terrains. The first decade and a half were acclaimed as years of remarkable social and economic progress; although blemished by the madness and inhumanity of Gukurahundi.

The second decade and a half were nightmare years, punctuated by the cruelty of Murambatsvina, the painful Fast Track Land Acquisition and the brutal Long Sleeves-Short Sleeves of the 2008 Presidential Poll Run Off.

In the last decade and a half, a once confident and self-assured people have been reduced to diffidence. An air of hopelessness and helplessness envelopes the nation. The people are still hurting, they are still fearful and un-trusting.

The economy has been destroyed, not by illegal western sanctions, but by greedy, corrupt, incompetent and un-caring leaders. Retail outlets, once full of goods made in Zimbabwe, are now bursting with imported goods. Our education and health services, once the pride of all Africa, are now all but collapsed. Zimbabwe is now characterized by chronic water and power shortages; education and medical fees beyond the reach of most citizens; company closures, translating into huge job losses; massive emigration’ etc. Corruption is endemic. Deviant and immoral behavior are common place, exposing many citizens, not only to physical harm, but to the high risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including the deadly HIV/AIDS.

In September 2008, the Global Political Agreement (GPA) was signed, and flowing from it, the Inclusive Government (IG) was formed in February 2009. The Inclusive Government was received with enthusiasm and excitement second only to those of 1980. The GPA defined three high priorities for the Inclusive Government, viz:
• national healing and reconciliation;
• economic stabilization and recovery; and,
• preparing the country for free and fair elections, predicated on the production of a `people-driven’ constitution.

The Inclusive Government has failed to deliver on all three priorities. Faced by the evident lack of commitment and will to move the country out of crisis by the GPA parties, I believe the country deserves a new approach.

I re-submit here a proposition I advanced at the time of the inconclusive 2008 presidential elections; that a broad-based Transitional National Authority (TNA) be established. Such authority would be made up of honest, competent and caring leaders, drawn from political parties, civil society, business and faith organisations. The top leaders (presidents) of all political parties would not participate in this authority. The TNA will be the executive leadership of the country, while the legislature, as currently constituted, will remain in office. Within a period not exceeding twelve (12) months, the TNA will complete making the new constitution, and execute all works necessary to prepare the country for free and fair elections. The next national elections will be conducted under the auspices and jurisdiction of the TNA.

The trauma and pain currently engulfing North Africa and the Middle East can be averted, if the current leaders committed themselves to honestly serving the people, accepting the sovereign right of the people to exercise their free choice.

The heroes of our struggle for independence dreamt of, and strove to create a nation free of fear, free of hate, free of prejudice, free of hunger, disease and ignorance. They struggled to create a happy nation, a nation of free choice, a nation of equal opportunities, a nation of unity and harmony.

I urge us all, especially all leaders, to use the opportunity of commemorating the day of the birth of our nation, to re-commit ourselves to the original ideals and values of our national liberation struggle. Together we can make Zimbabwe great again.

MAKOROKOTO, AMHLOPE, CONGRATULATIONS ZIMBABWE

Let’s Get Zimbabwe Working Again.

KaOne!