On the 18th of April, Zimbabwe celebrates its independence from colonial rule. With much jubilation we the sons and daughters of the soil will remember those who gave their lives for us to be here today.
I can’t pretend to know what happened in the colonial era but my parents have painted a pretty vivid picture in my mind for me to imagine what life was in that era. It makes me grateful for all those who gave their lives; though I will never meet them I will remember their ultimate sacrifice.
What then is independence to me, a born free? According to Wikipedia Independence is a condition of a nation,country, or state in which its residents and population, exercise self-government over the territory. Sovereignty is the quality of having independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make laws that rests on a political fact for which no pure legal definition can be provided.
The term sovereignty has always been coined loosely in Zimbabwe. For years I have heard the term Zimbabwe is a ‘sovereign’ state, so what exactly is sovereignty? I understand it to be a state that is always connected to its ability to guarantee the best interests of its own citizens. Thus, if a state could not act in the best interests of its own citizens, it could not be thought of as a “sovereign” state. This leads me to ponder on the question are we truly a sovereign state?
I am a proud Zimbabwean, I love my country and its people make no mistake but I do not have blind love. I question aspects and policies in my nation which I think we as the people need to do, question the people we entrust with power.
If independence and sovereignty mean that the interests of all Zimbabwean are considered then we have failed miserably in that regard. Gone are the days when our education system was one of the best in Africa, now we all scrounge to put our children in private schools and universities in other countries. We used to be the bread basket of Africa now we import maize from our neighbours. We used to value Ubuntu and humanity but now we rank high in corruption, political intolerance and the number of lives lost due to political violence is appalling.
There are too many children on the streets, not in school and in marginalised communities and nothing is being done. There are too many women abused and struggling with no recourse to justice, perpetrators buying their ‘freedom’. There are too many men in our society breaking their backs everyday but are not able to buy basic food for their families. Political party membership cards are a ‘get out of jail free card’! Yet our leaders stay in lavish houses, drive fancy cars in deplorable roads (I must add), take so many trips to places I have never heard of. Is this what the best interests of the people mean? Is this is the Zimbabwe we want?
Maybe if more of our leaders were like the pope who refuses to live in a lavish mansion perhaps we could see more ubuntu in our nation, less corruption and justice for all. But, that is still a dream for now.
So for me Zimbabwe at 33 means we don’t have white minority rule but we still have elements of that era. We still have a repressive regime, persecution of human rights defenders, people are still victimised for exercising their ‘freedoms’. I was not there before 1980 but I don’t think this is what the fighters envisioned 33 years later!
Then again this is just my opinion.