Milk and honey still illusive 31 years on

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Today, 31 years ago, Zimbabweans were ecstatic, celebrating the advent of their independence and sovereignty. Zimbabwe did not come on a silver platter. It was a hard-earned freedom.

Thousands of young Zimbabweans died in the most horrific ways while fighting to free their country from the cruel rule of the Rhodesians. Others lost limb in that noble pursuit.

The leadership of the young country under then Prime Minister Robert Gabriel Mugabe was full of promise and Zimbabweans were sure they would get the milk and honey they had fought so tirelessly for.

Today, 31 years down the line, Zimbabweans look back to April 18 1980 with a lot of frustrations, nolstagia and despair.

They are still to taste the milk and honey they were promised 31 years ago. We mark independence at a time the majority of Zimbabweans are wallowing in poverty, struggling to put one decent meal a day on the table.

The country is at a crossroads. Democracy that our gallant brothers and sisters bravely fought for is in the mortuary.

A few elite who have consumed the milk and honey alone are holding the country to ransom.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was right when he said yesterday: “Our Zimbabwe is under threat from a small group that is determined to betray our heroes who bravely sacrificed their lives to liberate every Zimbabwean regardless of race, creed or religion. This small clique has ensured that people’s freedoms are repressed and fear and intimidation brought into our homes, our villages and our townships.”

MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga also made the same observations. She said there was a clique of hardliners bent on plunging the inclusive government into turmoil and ensuring elections are hurriedly held has taken over the country.

“There is a system that is outside the civil system that has taken over the running of the country. Like I have said before, we have a coup, and those in charge want to ensure that the government does not operate smoothly,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

“There are people who want to push for an election this year, by hook or crook, and they want to frustrate us so that we go for early elections.”

Both Tsvangirai and Misihairabwi-Mushonga are correct and should be supported. A few people should not be allowed to take the country hostage just because they must satisfy their selfish and narrow agendas.

Worse still, all this madness coincides with a frightening report by South African President Jacob Zuma that Zimbabwe could face “unprecedented upheavals” if pro-democracy reforms are not implemented.

Zuma reportedly warned that North Africa-style revolts were possible if progress on stalled reforms to the authoritarian style of governance was not moved forward.

The warning is reportedly contained in a report handed to President Mugabe and the other members of his unity government last week following a meeting of the Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security in Zambia.

We urge President Mugabe and the clique that is pulling the strings to ensure we do not follow the path of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Ivory Coast.
President Mugabe, despite his shortcomings, is highly regarded for his role in bringing independence to the country.

He deserves a decent exit from office and not what we witnessed in recent days in Ivory Coast.