Majority mourn independence without freedom


Ordinary Zimbabweans Monday said that they were marking Independence Day with heavy hearts because they were not happy with the curtailment of their freedom in a “free” Zimbabwe.

While the majority said the day was important because brave Zimbabweans sacrificed their lives to liberate the country from its colonisers, they said they were unhappy that some of the individuals who liberated the country had turned into oppressors.

A large number of people were afraid to speak out fearing they could be targeted if they said “wrong things”, an indication that some Zimbabweans are still not feeling free, 31 years after independence.

“It’s a very important day which is worth celebrating but we have nothing much to celebrate,” said George Mungoni, who runs a small business in Harare.

“We can celebrate in the sense that we have attained certain levels of independence.

For example, long back we couldn’t walk along First Street but that is now a thing of the past.

We have also managed to make great strides in education and at one time we were the envy of Africa.

“But to a certain extent our freedoms of association, expression and assembly are being curtailed. And it is sad that in most cases they are being curtailed by the very people who fought for this country.”

Mungoni said it was important that the country’s leaders and Zimbabweans at large reflected on the original ideals of the liberation struggle and implemented them so that all Zimbabweans could value the significance of Independence Day.

Samantha Marasha, an airtime vendor in Harare’s central business district, said Independence Day was important but its significance risked being lost if it was associated with a single political party.

“For me and my family, we will forever cherish this day because we lost several family members during the war of liberation.

“We are happy that they did not die in vain because the country gained Independence,” she said.

“It’s a day which should be celebrated by all Zimbabweans but unfortunately in the last few years the Independence and Heroes Day commemorations have been associated with Zanu PF and Zanu PF only. Zimbabweans need to be educated on the importance of Independence so that they can truly own the day.

“Those that fought for the country should remember that they fought for all Zimbabweans, and that even those who did not go to the war assisted either by providing protection, information or food to comrades.”

Marasha said she was pained by the violence which was still prevalent in the country despite the nation gaining independence.

“My younger brother was severely beaten up in 2008 and for him and the rest of the country, it was a bitter pill to swallow because our two brothers went to Mozambique for the war of liberation but did not come back.

“Surely they did not die so that their own brothers and sisters are harassed in a free Zimbabwe and these are the things which make this day lose significance,” she said.

Kelvin Kanongovere, a car washer based at Areno Shopping Centre in Kuwadzana, said Zimbabweans should take advantage of the Independence Day celebrations to preach peace.

He said those who took part in the war of liberation wanted peace and tranquillity in the country and should be honoured.

Independence Day was celebrated in different ways with some people going to the National Sports Stadium, where the main attraction was the Dynamos-Highlanders soccer match.

Some self-employed people, such as carpenters, spent the day doing their work while others chose to spend time with their families.