Zimbabwe @ 40: United We Win!

2020 is a year which makes any theme with festivities impossible as the world, Africa and our country, writhes in agony as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc claiming lives and upsetting the world as we know it. We commiserate with all those who have been affected by the dreadful pandemic.

Attainment of our political independence was a milestone achievement in advancing the political and socio-economic aspirations of our people. History is yet to fully acknowledge and applaud, the critical role of the ordinary citizen, across class, in the epic struggle for independence. Officialdom has claimed the role of “freedom fighter’ to a select few, at the exclusion of the masses. Yet, it is the moral and material support as well as painful sacrifices by the ordinary citizens that was decisive in the realization of our independence.

We make this reminder to underscore the centrality of the agency of the citizen in the forward movement and transformation of societies. An important reminder at this time when as a nation our 40 years anniversary finds us stuck in the quicksand of an abiding crisis and inertia.

Indeed, at 40 we must remind ourselves that the destiny of the nation lies in our hands as citizens. Our ability to move beyond this moment of crisis and record yet more historical achievements depends on everyone and all of us becoming once again active citizens playing a part every day, in everything that matters in in the defining the destiny of our communities and nation.

The ever-creative Zimbabwean has called this year “indeerpendence” day as we celebrate our independence behind closed doors under the 21-day national lockdown as part of measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The tragedy and paradox of it is that these measures have sadly meant the disruption of key economic activities and livelihoods of the majority of citizens, with devastating socio-economic effects on the people, and thereby presenting another hazard in the form of food insecurity and lack of access to basic necessities. As the Citizens Manifesto, we believe that citizens should not be forced to make an impossible choice between health and livelihoods, and we know that if we come together as a nation we can co-create solutions that work for everyone. We are therefore calling for full social mobilization of the nation and the activation of inclusive frameworks to facilitate full cooperation across political – government – church – citizens divides. We need urgent broad-based consultations and national social mobilization, to remedy the current challenges and shortcomings in the Covid-19 response and particularly factor in the lived realities of daily wage earners and the poor and put human rights and dignity at the center of our national response.

If there is any relevant lesson for us to recall today from our independence struggle, it is that, united we win!

At the moment, we reiterate our call to put Country, Citizens and Constitution first. Always.

The occasion of our 40th independence anniversary and the way in which the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed unforgivable weaknesses in our public institutions and the state and the obscenity of economic policies that caters to the interest of a few elites at the expense of the majority, and a warped social policy that makes no provision for the protection of the vulnerable, is an inescapable reason for us to face the injustice of our society and summon the courage to reimagine once again the nation we want to become. At this juncture, we reaffirm our dream for a better Zimbabwe for all. Our dream for a more inclusive and just Zimbabwe as expressed in the 13 Cardinal Pillars of the Citizen Manifesto.

Happy 40th Anniversary Zimbabwe!

Source: Citizen Manifesto  

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