Statement on Heroines/ Heroes Day and Defence Forces Day in Zimbabwe

The Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD) joins the rest of Zimbabwe in celebrating two remarkable public holidays, “Heroines/Heroines Day” and “Defence Forces Day”. It is not a coincidence that these two holidays are synchronously celebrated as their significance is inter- twined. We pay tribute to the Heroines and Heroes of this country who sacrificed themselves for the greater freedom of the motherland. In particular, we salute the customarily unsung contribution of the young women, women and girls that substantially contributed to the liberation struggle, both as front liners and non-frontlines. The proactive role of women to ensure survival, agility and resilience during the times of the liberation struggle is a phenomenon that we salute today.

While we celebrate, we implore the government to implement the Constitution to bring into life fundamental freedoms and rights of Zimbabwean women and men as sought by the departed and living gallant daughters and sons of the soil. We crave a society where the efforts of our Heroines and Heroes are acknowledged through an open and democratic society that is grounded in upholding human rights for both women and men.

Remembering the injustices and atrocities committed by the uniformed forces resulting in loss of life among civilians, during the 1 August 2018 Post Elections Shootings where six (6) people were killed in cold blood and over over sixty (60) more people were brutally assaulted. We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to follow through and implement the Mothlante Commission Report and deliver the much awaited justice to the victims of the 1 August 2018 shootings. We aspire to live in a society in which every citizen enjoys their socio-economic, civil and political rights and freedoms our Heroines and Heroes envisaged through their combat in the armed struggle.

We also encourage the government to construct an environment that is conducive for both men and women to serve in the Defence Forces through gender sensitive policies. Managing diversity and promoting gender inclusion in response to a diversified society is vital in the national security structures. In addition, we urge the Defence Forces to protect its citizens as per their Constitutional mandate.

To Zimbabwe as a whole, let us rejoice by doing our part in ensuring the safety, inclusion and protection of the young women, women and girls within our respective communities. Key to note is desisting from any form of violence against women and girls who aspire to take part in the decision making and governance processes at all levels. Zimbabwe is our home and it is our duty to make it a state of the art democracy that we wish for.

Source: Institute for Young Women Development

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