Freedom is coming!

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It was a delight attending the MDC star rally in Highfield at Zimbabwe Grounds recently.

Column by Vince Museve

Remember this was the same place that Robert Mugabe was introduced to the masses in January 1980, times are a-changing. The atmosphere was loaded with a palpable exhilaration and anticipation of a better future. “Usambotya, usambotya!”  blasted the music. You should have been there.

My mind inexorably raced forward to post-elections and to Morgan Tsvangirai’s inauguration speech in November 2013, as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. I estimate it will be symbolically held at Rufaro Stadium where it all began. This is what I heard, in my mind.

“The people have spoken!
To your Excellencies, the heads of state of Sadc, the rest of Africa, Europe and Asia present here tonight, to honourable members of the diplomatic corps, special invited guests from all over the world, to all gathered here tonight, especially the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe; I, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, welcome you and invite you to share with us our joy and excitement at the birth of a new democratic and free Zimbabwe.

I honourably ask you to take a minute of silence for all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, pre and post-independence.

Tonight, we stand at the cusp of a new era of true freedom in Zimbabwe.  A freedom that recognises that, no one single individual amongst us, or group of persons, can ever claim the full responsibility for our liberation. A freedom that appreciates that all of us, in some way, contributed to our liberation struggle and are therefore entitled to its full benefits. From this day onwards, let no single individual ever claim to have the unchallengeable right to govern without a full, democratic mandate from the ordinary people of Zimbabwe as we have achieved.

We stand to say to the whole world that, finally, we Zimbabweans have taken the responsibility for carrying on to the finish the struggle for a free Zimbabwe that began more than 50 years ago.

I lift my open arms tonight, to embrace those who may have worked against the wishes of the people in the past. I invite them to join us tonight, in creating a new Zimbabwe that we all desire. Let the past be the past, and let us tonight bury those differences that have worked against us for far too long. Our past has divided us, discouraged us, maimed and even killed some of us because we dared to dream of a free Zimbabwe. Never, never again will that happen in a free Zimbabwe.

I declare here tonight: Let there be no retribution, but restoration, healing and revival of the full potential this beautiful country of ours. A country endowed with unlimited resources, both human and natural, whose full potential I we have yet to enjoy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are faced with serious challenges and, yes, freedom and liberty come with responsibilities that we dare not shy away from. Our first and foremost responsibility as your government, besides restoring the dignity and rights of our people, is to restore our economy. We must meet our obligations to all those who suffered loss either through Gukurahundi, land dispossession, Murambatsvina or any misdeeds of our recent past.  As a responsible and principled government, we surely cannot run away from those obligations placed upon us by history. We will honour them.

We must hurry to create a stable macroeconomic environment underpinned by private property rights and the rule of law so that we may attract new investors. We must account for all our land and mineral resources so that their ownership and the ensuing benefits are not in the hands of a few.

We will work hard to create jobs so that for once, ordinary Zimbabweans can wake up each morning, and lead meaningful and fruitful lives. We will pursue the economic empowerment of all Zimbabweans and not the indigenisation by and for a few.
We will retool and re-orientate all State institutions so that they can serve the needs of all Zimbabweans on a non-partisan basis.

Zimbabwe belongs to all who live in it and those born in it and no one amongst us has exclusive title deeds to its wealth and resources. Therefore, with a spirit of inclusiveness and collective responsibility, let us unite in mind and spirit, and build a country that can, for once, stand proud amongst the community of democracies of this world while responsibly meeting the needs of its entire people. I, therefore, invite all those Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to hurry back home and join us in rebuilding Zimbabwe.

My special thanks go to the role played by the Sadc, especially President Jacob Zuma present here tonight, and his team, in helping us help ourselves. My gratitude goes to all those Zimbabweans who have rejected a future of poverty, disease and lack and have worked tirelessly and have been patient for this new democracy.

To President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, I honour you tonight for your contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe and your role as the first President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. I honour you even more, for humbly accepting the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe. I wish you well in your retirement which you well deserve.

Hamba kahle!
I shall close with the words of Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher: ‘Treat humanity whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end withal, never as a means only.’

That is what I promise do as your President, at all costs.
Congratulations, makorokoto, amhlope!
God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.”
Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

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