Village Rhapsody: 43 years later, Zimbabweans still yearning for real freedom

The military intervened in Zimbabwean politics on November 15, 2017 to "placate a degenerating political, social, and economic situation."

The unfolding events in the country show the complexity of the qualities of an independent Zimbabwe.

What really constitutes independence, and does it only mean being free from colonial rule?

What then defines independence in the Zimbabwean context?

Food for thought!

By definition, independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state, in which the population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty over own territory.

However, the majority of Zimbabweans still yearn for some freedoms that were fought for during the liberation war.

Last week, the patriotic people of Zimbabwe celebrated the 43rd anniversary of their country's independence, which was attained on April 18, 1980, following a savage, expensive, and protracted liberation war against a racist minority regime headed by a hard-core white racist named Ian Smith.

Despite the lofty dreams and high expectations that the majority of people had for that lovely and wealthy nation, there is not much to celebrate in modern-day Zimbabwe.

The perpetuated human rights violations, failure to uphold democratic processes and corruption that has left Zimbabwe's economy beyond repair is a clear indication that a lot needs to be done for everyone to enjoy the freedoms of being independent as a country.

In as much as liberation war veterans brought an end to colonial rule, it gave birth to freedoms to plunder natural resources and smuggling of minerals putting Zimbabweans under economic bondage though free from colonial rule.

Zimbabwe's 1980 independence celebrations drew a large number of dignitaries from outside. Prince Charles stood in for Queen Elizabeth II.

Presidents Shehu Shagari of Nigeria, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Seretse Khama of Botswana, Indira Gandhi of India, and Malcolm Fraser of Australia were among the heads of state or government in attendance.

The great Jamaican singer Bob Marley was present and sang one of his classic reggae songs named "Zimbabwe" to the joy of Zimbabweans and their guests.

The optimism and exhilaration of 1980 provided the sense that the stage was set for a bright and prosperous future, yet the vast majority of Zimbabweans are still waiting for Uhuru!

If those born in the late 90s can imagine the atmosphere when the country celebrated its first independence day on April 18, 1980 and link it to the present day Zimbabwe, surely it won’t make sense.

Is Zimbabwe an independent country or it was only freed from colonial rule which goes by the saying that “It’s the same old wine in a new bottle” Freedom does not mean the absence of war, but good governance can better define an independent Zimbabwe.

Even the independence celebrations have turned to be a formality not out of love for many.

A lot has changed since April 18, 1980 as Zimbabweans continue to suffer under the second republic who keep bragging publicly and shamelessly that, “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.”

The guilt for Zimbabwe's catastrophe, however, goes fully on the later former president Robert Mugabe, who became enamoured with power, merged Zanu PF with the state, and considered Zimbabwe as his personal and private property.

It is both wrong and unacceptable. Zimbabweans deserve better.

The military intervened in Zimbabwean politics on November 15, 2017 to "placate a degenerating political, social, and economic situation."

The military operation was dubbed Operation Restore Legacy, but it was actually a coup in favour of the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction against their G40 opponents in Zanu PF.

These developments unified Zimbabweans who were so optimistic about change, even the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai supported the coup, but later denied it.

The dramatic irony depicts Zimbabwe’s situation after the 2017 operation “to restore legacy.”

Then the current political environment around Zimbabwe may be far more complicated than it appears on the surface.

The ruling Zanu PF government should go back to the drawing board and pin point the 1980 major promises to an independent Zimbabwe.

 What is it ‘freedom fighters’ wanted to achieve after 1980?

 Are the people of Zimbabwe enjoying their freedoms under the sovereign state?

All these questions should provoke Mnangagwa’s administration to rethink policies that promote sustainable peace in an independent Zimbabwe. 

*Evans Mathanda is a journalist and development practitioner who writes in his personal capacity. For feedback email: [email protected] or call 0719770038 and Twitter @EvansMathanda19

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