Independence Day has lost its glitz

There has been a heavy security presence in Esigodini ahead of President Emmmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to the town for the Zanu PF conference later this week

By Luke Tamborinyoka

YOUR Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Sunday April 18 was Independence Day — a once-hallowed day that has since lost its glitz because the requisite freedoms associated with the occasion are glaringly absent in this cursed nation.

Coming in the week that Zanu PF had introduced Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 which seeks to create an imperial President — the same week that the same analogue party sought to resurrect its terror troops popularly known as the Green Bombers — this year’s Independence Day was a hollow occasion whose emptiness just rendered it utterly meaningless.

Your Excellency, the sons and daughters of this land paid the ultimate price in the hope that their struggle would yield a country that respects basic freedoms, particularly the rights and freedoms of speech, movement and assembly.

Alas, political independence came alone, short of the requisite freedoms for which many lost their limbs so that the whims and hopes of future generations would walk again!

The right to vote, which was one of the key grievances of the repressed black majority, has been routinely betrayed as evidenced by pilfered polls that have resulted in the successive vicious cycle of disputed polls.

Zimbabweans have now been brazenly denied the right to vote as the regime hides under the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid the holding of by-elections that are long overdue, even as the regime has held its own district co-ordinating committee elections and allowed its surrogates to hold their elective congress.

On Sunday, we commemorated the Independence Day when a host of political prisoners of conscience were needlessly behind bars on trumped-up charges while the Zanu PF criminal elite is roaming scot-free.

Your Excellency, our real crisis is that in 1980, independence came without the requisite freedoms, rendering any claims of independence trite and vacuous.

The conviction of Makomborero Haruzivishe and the repression levels that have simply run amok are making any claims to  independence a sick joke.

You have not only proved to be a Robert Mugabe on steroids, but have proved to be a threat to the repressive legacy of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

But perhaps the biggest tragedy is that Zimbabwe’s independence came without the attendant freedoms.

Your Excellency, renowned poet and author, Freedom T V Nyamubaya, in an epic poem, so aptly captures the dilemma of a vacuous political independence that came without the requisite freedoms.

The following poem by the respected poet captures Zimbabwe’s parlous predicament through an epic metaphorical illustration which only a luminary writer  could muster:


Once upon a time

there was a boy and a girl

forced to leave their home

by armed robbers .

The boy was Independence

The girl was Freedom

While fighting back, they got married

After the big war they went back home

Everybody prepared for the big wedding

Drinks and food abounded

Even the disabled felt able

The whole village gathered waiting

Freedom and Independence were more popular than Jesus


Independence came

But Freedom was not there

An old woman saw Freedom’s shadow passing

Walking through the crowd, Freedom to the gate

All the same, they celebrated for Independence


Independence is now a senior bachelor

Some people still talk to him

Many others take no notice

A lot still say : it was a fake marriage

You can’t be a husband without a wife

Fruitless and barren Independence staggers to old age

Since her shadow, Freedom hasn’t come


Indeed, there is nothing to celebrate. Independence Day has become a tortuous and painful day that reminds us of what might have been.

A fleeting  moment that encapsulates a missed monumental opportunity.

  • Luke Tamborinyoka is the deputy secretary for presidential affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa. You can interact with him on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo. He writes here in his personal capacity.