ZIMBABWEANS yesterday thronged various venues across the country to celebrate 37 years of independence at a time when the struggle for economic emancipation continues to gather steam. Since the country attained the right to self-determination from Britain in 1980, it has sought to empower its majority blacks who endured years of colonial subjugation under successive white minority Rhodesian Governments.
Despite the impact of ruinous sanctions imposed by Britain, its European allies and the United States of America, Zimbabwe has studiously weathered the storm and today stands on the precipice of achieving total independence with its citizens among the most empowered through various policies the Government has enunciated.
The land reform programme has spawned a new breed of black commercial farmers with the majority of them now breaking into tobacco farming — a preserve of white commercial farmers. The tobacco auction floors in Harare get the bulk of the golden leaf from black farmers whose lives have been dramatically transformed since they were allocated pieces of land by the Government at the turn of the millennium.
In another masterstroke move, the Government embarked on the Command Agriculture Scheme with a bumper harvest expected this season. Zimbabwe stands on the threshold of regaining its breadbasket status amid expectations of a surplus maize crop.
The Community Share Ownership Scheme has ensured that locals benefit from natural resources in their areas while the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment drive has given black Zimbabweans the much needed break into industries previously owned by whites.
The country’s literacy rate remains among the best in the world with its education system the envy of many. Zimbabwe is an oasis of peace and tranquility thanks to the stability brought by the ruling Zanu-PF party.
President Mugabe and the party he leads have stood the test of time and survived the many machinations of the West which has launched numerous onslaughts against the country. From sponsoring puppet opposition parties and meddlesome non-governmental organisations, the imperial West has been relentless and of late we have been witnessing its nefarious activities again with its lenses firmly trained on next year’s harmonised elections.
Western ambassadors are busy doling out cash to NGOs and opposition parties but the Government has clearly stated its disquiet with firm warnings to the likes of Ms Catriona Laing — the British Ambassador and her German counterpart — Dr Thorsten Hutter, to stop their shenanigans. We salute the resoluteness with which the Government has defended the gains of independence by winning successive elections despite the best efforts of Western governments to install a pliant regime which will kow tow to their whims and caprices.
We also hail the principled and consistent leadership of President Mugabe who has managed to outfox his enemies both at home and abroad. The President has proved time and again that he is the glue that holds this nation together and we salute his unwavering stance in the face of threats to reverse the massive strides the country has made since Uhuru.
As the country celebrates independence, we also pay tribute to the gallant sons and daughters of the soil who sacrificed a lot during the armed struggle.
Some of them paid the ultimate price and lie in graves in Mozambique and Zambia while others suffered varying degrees of injuries during the war.
Zimbabwe is free today because of their selfless dedication to the country and for that we will forever be indebted to them. The born-free generation can honour the memories of fallen heroes by gallantly defending Zimbabwe’s right to self-determination and never shirking and deviating from the path of nationalism.
The values and ethos imbued in nationalists who prosecuted the fight against imperialism should cascade down to future generations so that the country does not revert to the hands of colonialists.