Today we join the nation in celebrating the lives and deeds of the heroes and heroines, both living and dead, who dedicated their lives to liberate Zimbabwe from the shackles of colonialism.This year’s commemorations could not have come at a better time as we celebrate the resounding affirmation by the electorate of the ideals the heroes and heroines were prepared to lay down their lives for.
Zanu-PF’s resounding victory that all but consigned the western-sponsored MDC formations to the dustbins of history coming, as it did from a campaign anchored on the ideals of the liberation struggle, was the greatest honour we gave our heroes, who no doubt rest easy today knowing their labours were not in vain.
Although we are poorer today for having lost these illustrous men and women, we are richer for the legacy of stolid patriotism they left us.
Today also marks our 13th straight year without official development assistance from the Bretton Woods institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Support from these organisations was withheld because of the illegal economic sanctions imposed by Western nations opposed to the land reform programme, the natural sequel to the 14-year war of attrition that defined some of the men and women we honour today.
Indeed, despite the hardships that reduced the life of the ordinary man to a daily trudge for mortal existence, we celebrate the fact that regardless of the overt and covert attempts to subvert our Independence over the past decade, we have remained resolute and staved off all neo-colonial designs.
We have reason to celebrate for these challenges confirm that we have not forgotten why our heroes and heroines laid down their lives.
In fact, the ongoing problems mirror, though they do not surpass, the travails the gallant freedom fighters went through to give us the political independence we enjoy today.
The prevailing economic challenges should be our call to action as the venerated men and women we honour today did not flinch in the face of challenges but remained focused for 14 whole years till they realised their dream of a free Zimbabwe.
Some fell by the wayside, and some managed to live on and we are still with them today.
To their credit they have not dropped the baton they were handed by the heroes lying at the National Shrine, Provincial Heroes Acres, mass graves scattered in various countries and unknown graves all over Zimbabwe and the former Front Line States with distinction.
We, the living, have a duty to ensure that these heroes and heroines did not die in vain and if, through continuing with the struggle, we invite the wrath of our erstwhile colonisers that is not a reason to drop the baton.
Instead, it should spur us on, the same way the heroes who fell at the battlefront urged their colleagues on, even as they breathed their last.
To this end, we challenge what remains of the MDC formations to introspect and find out whether they are furthering the vision of the heroes and heroines we honour today.
It is no secret why the MDCs suffered total rejection at the hands of the electorate, they have chosen to side with the enemies the men and women we honour today fought against and conquered.
Roy Bennett and Ian Kay are not the bones Mbuya Chahwe, the medium of the Nehanda spirit, foretold would rise as she was led to the gallows by the settler regime.
Let this be a day of repentance for Tsvangirai and company, a day to invoke the progressive spirit shown by our founding fathers, work as one to bring about the socio-economic independence our heroes and heroines laid down their lives for.
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