COMMENT: Zimbabwe reflects, celebrates on 44th Independence anniversary

ZIMBABWE marked her 44th Independence anniversary yesterday with a palpable sense of excitement.

Tens of thousands spent the day at various centres countrywide for this very auspicious celebration.  Some gathered at district centres, others at provincial sites and many more at the national event headlined by President Mnangagwa at Murambinda, Manicaland Province. Provincial ministers represented him at provincial events while district development coordinators played the same role at district celebrations across the country.  

This year’s celebrations were held under the theme Zim@44: Unity, peace and development towards Vision 2030.

Indeed, this was a fitting theme for a country that has seen unity, peace and development growing over the past 44 years.  Yes, there were disturbances during the Gukurahundi period from 1982 to 1987. Some of our people suffered as a result of that but the Unity Accord of December 1987 ended that fighting.  

But we acknowledge that the peace deal did not really resolve some unhappiness and pain that was prevalent on the ground; among those who actually suffered the physical and emotional pain; and loss during Gukurahundi. The Second Republic has taken a bold step to deepen the healing by opening up the difficult era for public debate.  Soon the victims will be given a suitable platform to recount their suffering and suggest ways through which that suffering can be resolved. That is bringing about greater national unity that this year’s theme is talking about.

Peace is ruling in the country as well. We are among the most peaceful nations on the globe.  Our people can conduct their business anywhere without the fear of being shot, mugged and so on.  They enjoy their lives too. They are at peace in their communities, at the workplace and other spaces.  And we know that peace is a prerequisite for any development.  

Our country has developed over the past 44 years. The development spans the whole gamut — health, education, infrastructure, industry, commerce and so on. 

We note that illegal Western sanctions set us back massively since their imposition in 2000 but the past six years have witnessed a rebirth of the country despite the unwarranted punitive measures.

The three elements — unity, peace and development — will surely lead the country to attaining targets set out in Vision 2030 two or so years in advance. In fact, in agriculture and mining, the targets were actually met some two years ago, a whopping eight years in advance of Vision 2030.

All these achievements were made possible by the sacrifices that were made by war veterans and our people in villages during the liberation war. Some died in that struggle, others survived but are still nursing physical and emotional wounds. The lucky ones were safe throughout. Yesterday was indeed, a moment for us to step back, recognise the supreme national service they rendered and celebrate.


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