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Let's remember our dear comrades, dead or alive

By Darlington Mahuku and Bowden Mbanje
Zimbabweans from all walks of life will next week throng the National Heroes Acre to remember the gallant sons and daughters, dead and alive who contributed immensely for the liberation of this country.

This is indeed a very important occasion as we reflect on the sacrifices made by our heroes and heroines. It also gives us time on whether we are being true and genuine to these comrades who sacrificed everything including their lives especially as we assess the contents of the Copac draft constitution.

Since 1980, Zimbabwe has travelled a triumphant road despite the neo-imperialist onslaught by our erstwhile colonisers to impede Zimbabwe's political and economic progress. Politically they have tried to derail the wishes of the ordinary Zimbabwean citizens by sponsoring neo-liberal opposition movements which they are now manipulating left, right and centre.

Economically they have tried to maliciously mar Zimbabwe's progress by going against the land reclamation and distribution programme and the indigenisation and black empowerment exercise.

As if this was not enough they have maintained the illegal sanctions that they instituted to let the Zimbabwean economy scream. This is a deliberate strategy that is meant to ignite political instability and restlessness amongst the Zimbabwean masses.

The irony of it all is that they have failed to discredit Zanu- PF as a revolutionary liberation movement because the party has aligned itself with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all progressive Zimbabweans by carrying out radical tasks that are very commendable. This is why next week we will be celebrating and remembering heroes like the late Herbert Chitepo, Jason Z Moyo, Josiah Tongogara and many others. Our hearts continue to be troubled as we remember those who were laid in mass graves at Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Chibondo among other unknown graves. These were men and women, young and middle aged who exuded a lot of bravery and dedication starring death in the face and never contemplating thoughts of turning back because they were bent on winning the war against the Smith regime.

They executed the war through immense assistance from the masses who supported the liberation war as detainees or collaborators whom we will forever be indebted to. We must not forget that today we are faced once again with the heavy task of defending and safeguarding our revolutionary gains. We strongly contend that this is a noble mission that was entrusted to all progressive Zimbabweans by all those who perished fighting for our country's independence.

All Zimbabweans are therefore called and tasked to cherish and defend what this sacred revolution achieved, a fulfilment of Mbuya Nehanda's prophecy. One of Zimbabwe's greatest musicians, James Chimombe captured it all when he sang, "Baba naamai kana monditsvaga, baba naamai kana mandishaya, ropa rangu munoriwana pasi pomureza weZimbabwe."

It was a song meant to remind parents of the sacrifices that had been made by their sons and daughters. Even today we remember those who failed to return whenever we see the Zimbabwean flag flying high. This is why we have a lot of respect for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the national heroes' acre.

Dr Chivaura noted that, "to liberate Africa's resources from continued exploitation by neoimperialists we must "leave the destroyer's culture, business and political agendas. "We must embark on building and revitalising our own businesses guided by our own historical experiences. The weapon with which to afford it and the freedom to regenerate and defend our destiny and inalienable rights as Zimbabweans is our culture and heritage." Dear reader, our argument is that European culture and business is predatory and all progressive Zimbabweans must never lose sight of its mission and history in Africa. The problem with neo-liberal opposition parties is that they are too Eurocentric intoxicated to be sensible.

It is very disturbing that the leader of the MDC-T is calling for another "revolutionary liberation struggle" in which the "people" get rid of Liberation parties that brought them independence. This smacks of treachery of the highest degree. How can sensible Zimbabwean youngsters have the audacity of saying "let's reverse the liberation struggle and ethos so that we can liberate Zimbabwe ourselves." The First, Second and Third Chimurengas have already been fought and are now history, this cannot be undone. We strongly contend that those who call for a reversal of all the gains of the First to the Third Chimurenga are not in their right minds. The problem is that their minds are controlled like machines by their sponsors.

It is a fact that when you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions for they will do precisely what you want them to do. This explains why they have all the luxury of saying, "educate me, brainwash my mind and poison my mind until all the faculties of my mind are deadened by the effect of the poison!" These are the people whose minds are diseased and are far from being progressive. They are captives of the West, pseudo black men devoid of any African identity and culture. These are the people who will give a lot of excuses on why they will not be at the national shrine. Malcom X said we need to always remember and cherish our heritage and identity to liberate ourselves from the bonds of white supremacy. It is only when we are armed with the knowledge of our past that we can chart a way forward with confidence.

Chivaura opines that "as Africans we must revive our history and reconstruct it in order to rediscover the truth it contains about our immense ability to forge ahead as masters of our own lives." This is why next week as we remember our fallen heroes we must reflect on why Zimbabwe has to jealously protect its sovereignty. As Zimbabweans we must separate our thoughts from neo-imperial thoughts and subjugation so that we can visualise a future that is not dominated by our erstwhile colonisers. All progressive Zimbabweans must be a living part of Zimbabwe, elements of popular revolutionary energy that call for the total emancipation, progress and happiness of all Zimbabweans.

Progress in this context entails making life more meaningful, benefiting from the productive activities of the society in politics, economics and other fields of human endeavour. This is why next week we are calling on all Zimbabweans to think about the aims of the First, Second and Third Chimurenga. As Zimbabweans, let us struggle vigorously and defend the revolutionary banner of indigenisation as to effect an upswing in charting a bright future for ourselves.

Veterans of our liberation war and all our uniformed forces must at all times increase the combat readiness and efficiency of their units so that they will always guard and defend the security of the country. It is important for all Zimbabweans to form a broad united front. It must be a united front which embraces all the broad sections of the Zimbabwean population regardless of their intellectual conviction, economic beliefs and political views to build a vibrant Zimbabwean society.

All Zimbabweans must work very hard to prove themselves worthy of the trust that was bestowed on them by our departed heroes and heroines.

It is beyond any reasonable doubt that we have encountered a lot of challenges. These challenges are only a passing phase that has occurred in the course of our history. If we had sat still then no challenges would have arisen. We contend that as Zimbabweans we must not regard as impediments; challenges that occur temporarily in the course of our rapid progress. If there continue to be challenges facing us, it is because we are standing in direct confrontation with neo-imperialists. Zanu-PF as a liberation movement continues to work hard to improve the lives of the ordinary citizens. Zanu-PF is a tried and tested party, it has overcome many obstacles and hardships and the road that it is following is a road that leads to victory.

Zimbabwe's foreign policy must remain the same, protecting national interests and resisting exploitative Western hegemony. Zimbabweans from all walks of life must throng the national shrine and other provincial shrines throughout the country to pay tribute to our gallant sons and daughters who perished in the armed struggle. Darlington Mahuku and Bowden Mbanje are lecturers in International Relations, and Peace and Governance with Bindura University of Science Education.


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura