ZIMBABWE commemorates Heroes Day tomorrow at a time when the country is faced with a renewed onslaught from the West which is keen to effect regime change using its proxies in opposition parties, civil society, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other merchants of darkness.
As the nation comes together to remember and honour its gallant sons and daughters who paid the ultimate price to attain self-rule and determination, it is important to take stock of the progress made since independence and the giant strides achieved by both the First and Second Republics in improving the lives of the majority black people of Zimbabwe.
This is because the liberation struggle was waged primarily to free black people from colonial subjugation and get rid of the albatross around their necks in the form of the racist Rhodesian regime led by Ian Smith.
With Uhuru in 1980 came a mammoth task for the nascent majority Government made up of Zanu and Zapu — the parties that prosecuted the war of liberation through their respective armed wings — ZANLA and ZIPRA.
Despite initial setbacks in the early years of independence which resulted in disturbances in Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands provinces, the two revolutionary parties found each other culminating in the signing of the historic Unity Accord in 1987, paving way for peace and tranquillity in the country.
That peace enabled the Government to forge ahead with developmental programmes and by and large, the period between independence and year 2000 witnessed tremendous economic growth and a rise in the standard of living for black Zimbabweans.
However, in spite of these advances, the land question remained unresolved and like a festering wound, was a ticking time bomb given skewed land ownership patterns where less than 1 percent of the population (about 4 500 white farmers) controlled most of the fertile and arable land.
The Fast-track Land Reform Programme sought to address this colonial injustice and we have absolutely no regrets about the manner in which it was carried out since Britain had reneged on its obligations to fund land reform.
War veterans spearheaded land occupations because one of the primary reasons why they left their homes and crossed the borders to train and take part in the armed struggle was to take back land that was stolen from their forefathers.
Since 1999 when land was repossessed, Zimbabwe has borne the brunt of sanctions from the European Union (EU), the United States (US) and other Western nations as they seek to effect regime change and reverse the land reform programme.
They have come unstuck as the people of Zimbabwe have remained unflinchingly loyal to the party of independence and have seen through the machinations of the West which has been sponsoring its Trojan Horses in the opposition.
We salute the resolute nature of Zimbabweans who have resisted the urge to abandon the vanguard party despite challenges wrought by sanctions.
We are glad they realise that these economic setbacks are temporary and signal the birth pangs of a new economy whose foundations were laid when the Second Republic took office in November 2017.
The New Dispensation has been building on the successes of the First Republic while correcting some of the mistakes made in the final days of former President Robert Mugabe. Its reform agenda is blowing full steam ahead with the much-vaunted Vision 2030 firmly on track.
Milestones recorded so far include reintroducing the local currency, attracting massive investments in electricity generation, tourism, coal mining and diamond mining, rehabilitating infrastructure like roads, dams, bridges and power stations.
The economy is relatively stable save for a few instances of instability caused by the activities of speculators and illegal foreign currency dealers. The nation therefore needs to rally behind the administration of President Mnangagwa as he continues to steer the ship to prosperity.
To achieve its objectives, the Second Republic needs the support of all Zimbabweans with peace and unity permeating the whole country. Instability and insurrections being sponsored by Western embassies will only destroy the country and peg it back from the path of economic transformation. We therefore call on the nation to come together and invoke the spirit of our fallen heroes who sacrificed so much for the peace, tranquillity and stability prevailing in Zimbabwe today.
Let’s not besmirch their memories by embarking on mindless demonstrations and protests meant to reverse the gains of independence and the liberation struggle.
Let’s be wary of latter day prophets of doom whose only interest in Zimbabwe is its resources not the dreams and aspirations of its people.
Britain and the US are only interested in reversing the land reform programme and the restoration of their kith and kin on our farms.
Despite the historic signing of the Global Compensation Deed between Government and white former commercial farmers last week, the US continues to impose further sanctions on Zimbabwe, betraying its neo-colonial agenda of reversing the land resettlement programme. We thus need to stay vigilant and guard the gains of independence jealously.
On Friday, President Mnangagwa implored Zimbabweans to remain united and peaceful and ignore calls to destabilise the country that are being made by some citizens that have fled justice. He said peace was a key ingredient to national prosperity, fruits of which are being seen in extensive infrastructural development across the country.
“We must remain united, we must ignore the rumblings of fugitives who ran away from this country and focus on developing our country for the benefit of our people,” President Mnangagwa said as he commissioned a 32,2 km dualised stretch of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway.
Let’s heed his wise counsel as we remember and honour our heroes both fallen and living.