EDITORIAL COMMENT: Lest we forget, let’s honour our heroes

Heroes’ Acre

TODAY Zimbabwe commemorates Heroes’ Day, a day set aside to honour the gallant sons and daughters of the soil who paid the ultimate price in their quest to ensure majority rule and self-determination for the country. Ceremonies will be held in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe with the main event slated for the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare where President Emmerson Mnangagwa will preside.

The commemorations come at a time the ruling Zanu-PF — the party of independence — continues to straddle the political scene like a giant colossus following another overwhelming mandate to preside over the affairs of the country in the wake of the July 30 harmonised elections. The vanguard party garnered a two thirds majority in Parliament and its presidential candidate, Cde Mnangagwa, won the race with 50.8 percent of the vote to beat his main challenger, Mr Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance who got 44.3 percent.

Zanu-PF is among a stellar cast of liberation movements that continue to rule the roost in Southern Africa among them the African National Congress of South Africa, Frelimo of Mozambique, MPLA of Angola, SWAPO of Namibia and Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania. The secret to the longevity of these parties is their loyalty to their founding values, ethos and principles which are steeped in the revolutionary struggle and the rights of the majority black people of their respective nations.

Despite concerted efforts by neo-colonialists to sponsor Trojan Horses in the opposition, liberation struggle parties always triumph because of their deep rooted connection to the people — a relationship that was birthed and honed during the liberation war.

In that vein, parties like Zanu-PF will continue to dominate local politics as long as they put people first. As the nation commemorates Heroes’ Day, it is unfortunate that some struggle stalwarts like former President Robert Mugabe are tarnishing their legacies by supping with the enemy and doing everything in their power to undo all the good work they did for Zimbabwe.

There is no doubt that Mr Mugabe played a crucial role in liberating the country but his recent actions are threatening to dent that legacy and it will be no surprise should he find himself forsaken by the very party that he led for the greater part of Zimbabwe’s post-independence era.

Reports that Mr Mugabe is working with the MDC Alliance and its leader Mr Chamisa to derail Zanu-PF and President Mnangagwa’s victory in the just ended polls are sad, unfortunate and regrettable coming as they do on the eve of the birth of the Second Republic. The former President is not reciprocating the goodwill afforded to him by Cde Mnangagwa in the wake of Operation Restore Legacy in November last year but is bent on destabilising the current Government using covert and overt means.

Struggle heroes must be turning in their graves at the unfolding events in Zimbabwe where their icons are working hard to destroy their party just to spite the current leadership. Mr Mugabe overstayed his welcome as leader of Zimbabwe and Operation Restore Legacy was meant just to do that — rescue his tainted legacy from the clutches of the G-40 cabal and his overbearing wife, Grace.

There are reports that Mr Chamisa is being hand-held and sponsored by Mr Mugabe with the two forming an unholy alliance in a bid to assume the reins of power. Even the petition he filed with the Constitutional Court in a bid to overturn results of the July 30 presidential election was allegedly informed by advice received from the former president. The question is: What happens when he ultimately fails with his shenanigans? Does he honestly expect to continue being treated with kid gloves?

Surely patience eventually runs out. War veterans have already called for Mr Mugabe not to be accorded national hero status when he passes away and really, who can blame them. Hero status is reserved for those who consistently worked for the country and never deviated from that path.

On that count, Mr Mugabe falls short as he has shown that he can be as treacherous as those traitors who sold out their fellow comrades during the struggle. This country’s independence was watered by the blood of thousands of fighters who died at the hands of the white settler regime. Their deaths cannot be in vain.

We thus call on Zimbabweans to come out in their thousands at various shrines today to commemorate and remember our fallen heroes. Living heroes like those who led Operation Restore Legacy should also be celebrated as they played a crucial role in extricating this country from the grips of a dangerous cabal.

The Second Republic beckons once the token challenge by the MDC Alliance and Mr Chamisa is out of the way. That day will definitely come soon and Zimbabweans will proudly take their place in the community of nations.