BY PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE MAIN opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has criticised government for conferring hero statuses to Zanu PF party members only, saying national heroes should not bear allegiance to any political party.
In his Heroes Day statement yesterday, Chamisa applauded national heroes for their sacrifice in liberating the country, but said war veterans should not allow themselves to be used in “dirty work” by politicians.
“We salute all our heroes and veterans dead and living, who sacrificed to birth our great nation. We owe it to our heroes and posterity to preserve and crusade the ideals of social justice, an abiding culture of human rights and a gratifying socio-economic order,” he tweeted.
“Each nation has its struggles to be fought and won. Each generation has its heroes who pay the ultimate sacrifice to transform society for the better. National heroes sacrifice for a country, not an organisation or a political party. Heroes are Zimbabwean heroes, not partisan.
“Our memory of our great heroes should not sink or be reduced into sentimentality and platitudes. Heroes don’t beat, harass, maim and murder people for politicians.”
Last month, Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa bragged that the country’s armed forces and war veterans were Zanu PF appendages, raising fears that the party could be preparing to rope them in to perpetrate violence in next year’s elections.
While the CCC did not attend the Heroes Day commemorations yesterday, CCC party interim national organiser Amos Chibaya said they would attend today’s Defence Forces Day.
“We value the role played by the defence forces in safeguarding peace in our motherland. We, therefore, urge all our champions to attend this important event,” Chibaya said.
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In a statement, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) lamented the country’s multi-faceted crisis saying that it has betrayed the values of those who participated in the liberation struggle.
“The new dispensation has failed the democratic test and we continue to witness the same brutality that motivated living and fallen heroes to fight for an independent Zimbabwe,” the CiZC statement read.
“The values of the liberation struggle have been betrayed, with the majority of Zimbabweans still economically disempowered and dissatisfied with the economic gains from liberation struggle. The level of inequality remains high.”
The Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC Alliance also said: “Post-independence, the erstwhile struggle for democracy and the ideals of the liberation struggle has remained unabated, unfortunately claiming yet more lives of our own kith and kin at the hands of our liberators who have deviated from the people’s aspirations. We, therefore, remember our liberation war heroes in the same breath as those who also lost their lives in the post-independence struggle for democracy, such as our party founding stalwart, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai of blessed memory.”
In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said: “Reflecting on the 42 years since the first Heroes Day commemoration, the ideals of the war of liberation that countless heroes died for remain unfulfilled. The government, instead of realigning its actions to the values of the liberation struggle, is coming up with restrictive laws to further choke the already depressed democratic space.
“The Private Voluntary Organisations Act, a colonial piece of legislation, is being amended in ways that infringe on constitutional rights to association, assembly, and expression. We believe this is not what the heroes and heroines of the Second Chimurenga fought for. The proposed Patriotic Bill is synonymous with some of the colonial laws that the freedom fighters fought against.”