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THE last two days have been particularly hectic as Zimbabweans celebrated its major holidays —Heroes’ and Defence Forces days.
These are important days in which the nation remembered and honoured the sacrifices made by the country’s fallen and living heroes and heroines, who offered their lives for the total liberation of Zimbabwe.
It was also time to celebrate the men and women in the security sector who continue to selflessly defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity despite working under harsh conditions.
While there were a lot of activities and fanfare around the country, what is sad and tragic is that our current crop of politicians have betrayed their fellow comrades that lie interred at various national shrines and in some unknown graves inside and outside Zimbabwe because the values they died for appear to have long been thrown into the dustbin.
Some of the laws (or new versions of the laws) that were used against those that fought for independence have been used to repress voices of dissent in independent Zimbabwe, while the economic freedom many sought has increasingly become an illusion, with the majority of Zimbabweans continuing to eke out a sordid living against the backdrop of grim poverty.
Politicians, however, have continued to live in luxury, comfort and ease, having used their political influence to accumulate wealth, while those who laid their lives for that independence have sunken deeper and deeper into levels of poverty and hardship not witnessed even under the colonial era.
The younger generation born after independence, for instance, often wonders as to the purpose of fighting the liberation war as they struggle to find jobs, establish businesses or even eke a livelihood despite their high-flying academic qualifications. There is no point in continuously celebrating our heroes when the values they fought for are not realised in our lives.
If, indeed, we are in a new era, our politicians need to demonstrate to their departed comrades and the nation at large that, indeed, this country was worth dying for by revisiting the liberation ethos and charting a new course in line with what their compatriots sacrificed their lives for.
To be independent while struggling to survive takes away the glory from the Heroes’ Days and our soldiers have a lot to do to clean up their image and win the confidence of the majority of people. For a long time, they have tended to be a tool just to ensure that Zanu PF holds on to power at all costs.