18 April marks Zimbabwe’s Independence Day, attained in 1980 from the United Kingdom. On the country’s 36th anniversary of Independence from colonial rule, we remember the sacrifices made in the protracted guerrilla war, in which thousand sons and daughters of Zimbabwe lost their lives. We remember the words of some of the country’s liberation heroes, made during the liberation struggle, at independence and post independence, which speak to the vision and aspirations of its people, disillusionment and frustration at the prevailing challenges facing the country.
1. “I could go into the whole theories of discrimination in legislation, in residency, in economic opportunities, in education. I could go into that, but I will restrict myself to the question of land because I think this is very basic. To us the essence of exploitation, the essence of white domination, is domination over land. That is the real issue”. Herbert Chitepo, Chairman of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), speech on a trip to Australia in 1973.
2. “We do not want to create a socio-legal order in the country in which people are petrified, in which people go to bed having barricaded their doors and their windows because someone belonging to the special branch of the police will break into their houses….This is what we have been fighting against…This is why we are in this revolution for as long as it is necessary, to abolish this system”. Edson Zvobgo, founding member Zanu-PF.
3. “What some of us are fighting for is to see that this oppressive system is crushed. We don’t care whether, I don’t even care whether I will be part of the top echelon in the ruling, I’m not worried but I’m dying to see a change in the system, that’s all, that’s all. I would like to see the young people enjoying together, black, white, enjoying together. In a new Zimbabwe, that’s all…” Josiah Magama Tongogara, ZANLA commander.
4. “Democracy is… and should remain disciplined rule requiring compliance with the law and social rules. Our independence must thus not be construed as an instrument vesting individuals or groups with the right to harass and intimidate others into acting against their will. It is not the right to negate the freedom of others to think and act, as they desire”. Robert Mugabe, speech made on the eve of Zimbabwe’s Independence on 17 April, 1980.
5. “Our Constitution equally circumscribes the powers of the government by declaring certain civil rights and freedoms as fundamental. We intend to uphold these fundamental rights and freedoms to the full”. Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister designate, March 4 1980
6. “What Zimbabwe fought for was peace, progress, love respect, justice, equality, not the opposite. And one of the worst evils we see today is corruption. The country bleeds today because of corruption…” Joshua Nkomo speech given at the funeral of former ZIPRA commander Lookout Masuku, Bulawayo on April 12 1986
7. “There is something radically wrong with our country today and we are moving fast towards destruction…Young men and women are on the streets of our cities. There is terrible unemployment. Life has become harsher than ever before”. Joshua Nkomo speech given at the funeral of former ZIPRA commander Lookout Masuku, Bulawayo on April 12 1986.
Source: This is Africa