It is that time of the year again when we are exhorted to remember your sacrifice.
I wish I could say I am writing from a happy place. I wish I could tell you that the liberation project was a great success. Sadly, all I can say is that if you were here today you would be hugely disappointed.
I am reflecting on your great sacrifice and I wish I could tell you that the country you died for is doing well. After three decades I am not even sure, if you were still here, you would recognise the comrades who fought alongside you. They have done well for themselves but I doubt they remember us the common people. The people you helped to the top have chomped their way through all the resources they can lay their hands on and have left a trail of devastation.
Poverty has taken up permanent residency in the country you fought to liberate. Hospitals are buildings waiting for drugs that never come. Universities are so ill-equipped and poorly funded that your comrades send their children overseas to study. Laws only exist for we the people.
Today is Defence Forces day, a day after we remember you the heroes of the struggle. Since I woke up the only news preoccupying the people is that of the allegations of the First Lady beating up a young woman in South Africa. Oh, we now have what we call social media and that takes away some of the downtrodden people’s attention from the battle of surviving in a country where only those suckling from the bosom of patronage can make it through the day.
Yes, Zimbabwe now has a law that should protect women against Gender Based Violence (GBV) but again it is only a law for the poor. News filtering in from our neighbour, South Africa, is that the First Lady will be handing herself over to the police. No we don’t expect such behaviour from the First Lady and we are indeed appalled that she sees nothing wrong in perpetrating violence against another woman. If you were alive you would hope this was fake news – we do too but we have seen so much in 37 years nothing surprises us anymore.
I know you think 1980 gave us a sense of security but it didn’t. No, we the people you fought and died for do not feel secure in the country you liberated. By the way, South Africa now has a black president in fact he is their third black president and they do try to uphold the rule of law down there so maybe the alleged violence visited upon the young woman will be dealt with fairly. There are no guarantees so one can only hope.
You fought bravely but you were sold a dummy. If you listen carefully beyond your graves you might hear some of the comrades, you left wailing in disbelief at the state of affairs. They do so not because they believe that they were sold a dummy but only because for the first time since 1980 (independence) they are experiencing the pain of being kicked off the feeding trough.
Your comrades who fought tooth and nail to keep the government – the only one we have known since Rhodesia became Zimbabwe – in power, now know what we the common citizens have known for ages, that the train went off the rails a long time ago. Your comrades are fuming and have just discovered the need for true freedom and democracy because they no longer headline the patronage table.
We will remember you again next year if we are still here. We are grateful to you. Maybe I will have better news for you. Maybe your comrades will have discovered the fountain of good leadership, or remembered the value of the people they rule. Maybe we the people will have found our courage and do what we should have done in 1980 – defend our vote.