Zimbabweans celebrate 33 years of Independence from colonial rule on Thursday.
The Standard Editorial
People from all walks of life will converge at various centres around the country for the commemorations to be held under the theme: Zimbabwe @33 — Peace, Prosperity and Economic Empowerment for National Development.
Ironically, such a grandiose theme is at odds with what is prevailing in the country.
In 1980, then Prime Minister Robert Muga-be preached unity and forgiveness urging the new nation to “turn swords into ploughshares”.
Thirty-three years later, those ploughshares have been literally turned into weapons again as government cracks down on dissenting voices ahead of the watershed harmonised elections later this year.
The peace that Zimbabweans anticipated when they gained independence has remained a mirage as the human rights situation continues to deteriorate.
Those who replaced yesteryear colonisers have not hesitated to use the same oppressor’s methods to remain in power and to plunder the nation’s wealth.
The country’s natural resources, particularly diamonds, have been pillaged by the elite despite Treasury insisting that revenue from diamonds should go to the consolidated revenue fund.
More worrying for Zimbabweans is the cancer called corruption that has taken root in the new political arrangement. While Zanu PF and the MDC formations that constitute the inclusive government have different ideologies, they have found a common denominator in looting.
Young ministers who only a few years ago did not have anything to their name, now own mansions in leafy suburbs and drive top-of-the-range vehicles, thanks to their four years in government.
While the pillaging has been allowed to go on, the health and education sectors, which had been revamped in the 80s, have collapsed.
Water and electricity are hard to get, and mismanagement has become the buzzword. On the economic front, populist policies have driven away investors and companies have either retrenched staff or closed shop leaving the unemployment rate hovering around 90%.
For the majority of unemployed Zimbabweans, the fruits of independence remain elusive.