Last Thursday Zimbabwe marked 33 years of independence after gallant sons and daughters of this great republic dislodged the settler regime and brought independence to a people who had endured a century of oppression.
Since the settler occupation in 1890, the black people began a fight, a very long battle that gave birth to heroes and heroines such as Sekuru Kaguvi, Mbuya Nehanda, Herbert Chitepo and Josiah Tongogara, among a host of other fallen heroes. They fought for equality, they fought for human rights, identity, freedom and they preached peace.
The dawn of independence drew wild celebrations across the country as people looked into the future with hope.
However, 33 years after Independence, all hope has evaporated. The group of revolutionaries that assumed power at Independence did not have the time to continue from where the settlers had left, in as far as economic growth is concerned. Instead they instituted a genocide that saw over 20 000 people being murdered in cold blood in Matabeleland under Gukurahundi.
Before the dust had barely settled, the revolutionaries were at it again, looting state resources and engaging in corrupt activities that embarrassingly exposed the regime when the Willowgate scandal revealed their unpalatable dealings and abuse of office for personal enrichment.
What followed were disastrous economic policies that led to famine in the early 90s and peeked with the war veterans’ madness of 1999 when war veterans sent the Zimdollar tumbling after claiming compensation for taking part in the war of liberation. Some of them claimed huge amounts for suffering as a result of war.
The chaotic and violent land reform of early 2000 summed up a reign of terror that flattered to deceive at take off.
The land reform has since been an easy avenue to make money with some politicians grabbing more than five farms all in the name of land redistribution, while the majority of the poor fight for small pieces of land. Now it is indigenisation, a policy that is clearly crafted to shield daylight looting of companies and industries that has led to the unpopular Nieebgate.
Since 2000 to date, elections have been violent, which has seen hundreds of people perishing while others have been maimed for life as diehards fight for Zanu PF to remain in power.
Youth Agenda Trust looks back at the achievement of this government with despair and agony. It has failed to honour its Independence promises. The people of Zimbabwe today remain one of the poorest under the sun, living on less than US$2 a day, despite the fact that the country is sitting on vast mineral resources which are being monopolised by a clique of greedy politicians.
The tragedy of our country is that those who were our liberators have turned into our oppressors. It is unfortunate that when everyone expected to be freed from shackles of colonialism, it has turned out that what happened in 1980 was merely the changing of hands. In fact, we continue to see our own black government trampling upon fellow poor black people’s rights with impunity.
The people of Zimbabwe want the fair distribution of resources and not having them concentrated in the hands of a few individuals.
The young people of Zimbabwe want jobs and the elderly want decent pensions for all the years that they have worked for this country. The women of this country have for long been yearning for bread to give to their children, but it has not been forthcoming.
The people of Zimbabwe want freedom, they want to be given an opportunity to choose a government of their own choice and not to be beaten or killed for simply exercising their democratic right to vote. Youth Agenda wants to remind the government that one of the reasons why our heroes and heroines went to war was “One Man One Vote”.
As we celebrate Independence, we must not forget that we have unfinished business that those who perished during the liberation struggle were determined to deliver.
Their ideals were dumped at Independence by those who took over power and have never bothered to revisit them. We make a clarion call to the youth of Zimbabwe to demand their Independence today! We cannot be oppressed anymore. Our Time is Now! Long live Zimbabwe!