Today Zimbabwe celebrates Heroes Day with the background of despondency and apathy, as the dreams of the heroes, who laid their lives for the country’s independence have not been realised.
Instead of celebrating Heroes Day, Zimbabwe today commemorates an independence deferred, where the ideals of the struggle have been forgotten and have been replaced a greedy elite, more pre-occupied with lining their pockets than serving the people.
When commemorating Heroes Day, it is important to note that the heroes fought for more than just one-man one-vote, but sacrificed their lives for freedom of association, freedom of speech and the right to self-determination among others.
It is an indictment on the government of today that it has betrayed those noble ideals and replaced them with nepotism and impunity, where rights, despite being guaranteed in the Constitution are not respected.
Zimbabweans have now become victims of a whimsical and paranoid government – that is quick to suppress the people’s dreams just to remain in power.
The heroes lying at several shrines across the country and those, who have not been recognised as such are surely turning in their graves, as this is definitely not the Zimbabwe they fought.
We have implored, several times, for the government to return to the values and ideals of the liberation struggle, but there seems to be no appetite for this from the authorities, who instead have responded by being more repressive.
When President Robert Mugabe delivers his speech today, he should be mindful that millions of Zimbabweans are unhappy with the route the country has taken with him at the helm.
He should be aware that the euphoria of 1980 has been replaced by fear and a feeling of disconsolateness.
This is because his government has failed to deliver on the promises of the liberation struggle, which the heroes we celebrate today fought for.
Many Zimbabweans have decided to leave the country because of Mugabe’s policies and this should be an indictment on him and his government.
Had Mugabe maintained the ideals of the liberation struggle, we have no doubt that most Zimbabweans in the diaspora would not have found reason to flee the land of their birth and would instead be working for the country’s betterment.
Today is a day for reflection, where Zimbabweans look at where their country is, how it got here and what can be done for it to get out of the doldrums.
This should spawn new heroes, who are willing to carry the baton and deliver the country to the promised land.