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Zimbabwe@40: Still standing . . . going strong

19 Apr 2020 at 07:46hrs | Views
APRIL 18 marks Zimbabwe's Independence Day.

We commemorate this auspicious national occasion heroically fighting Covid-19, a global pandemic that has claimed and is still claiming thousands of lives across the globe.

More than two million people have been afflicted.

There is yet to be a vaccine.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has given structure to prevent the spread and to mitigate.

His Excellency President Mnangagwa proclaimed a 21-day national lockdown, which began on March 30 and is due to expire today.

President Mnangagwa is looking for a judicious way between two choices — the menacing Covid-19 and threatening hunger caused by a dearth of economic activity due to a prolonged lockdown.

Clearly, Covid-19 has been devastating to our economy.

The Second Republic inherited an economy already ravaged by two decades of wilful neglect, kleptocratic greed and crass ignorance of basic ethos of modern business management.

To kick-start the comatose economy, President Mnangagwa and his fiscal and monetary team has since embarked on entrenching reforms.

The goal being to revive, incentivise and grow new investment — both domestic and foreign.

The global Covid-19 ambush will not be allowed to derail this bold agenda of economic revival and national prosperity.

Celebrations in the safety of homes

No doubt, Bulawayo, the City of Kings and Queens, was gearing up.

It was preparing to host a party of epic joy and jubilation on April 18, 2020.

The second-largest city of Zimbabwe was honoured by His Excellency President Mnangagwa to be the first-ever to host independence celebrations outside of the capital, Harare.

This act of unity and graciousness had never happened in the country's years of nationhood.

This was the Second Republic stretching out its mantra of reaching out to all Zimbabweans.

No one will be left out of the sheltering national inclusiveness.

The month of April holds a special place in the hearts and minds of all Zimbabweans and those who wish it well, particularly April 18.

On that special day in 1980, the imperial British Union Jack was pulled down by Prince Charles.

Hoisted up was the fluttering new Zimbabwe flag.

It was a joyful moment weighted down by deep solemnity. The road had been long, arduous and deeply painful.

Gorged scars from the death of thousands in the war of independence were being rubbed with the anointing balm of nationhood.

There is no other day as enduringly memorable as a birthday even at a personal level.

It is an occasion to yearly celebrate the beginning of one's life, to take stock of achievements notched up and celebrate them with family and other loved ones.

Challenges are also assessed and new goals set to scale further successes.

From nowhere, the global pandemic of Covid-19 struck.

In the process, it smothered the gathering mood of festivities being prepared by Bulawayo citizens to celebrate the premier day of the nation of Zimbabwe.

A global dash to safety ensued with a universal recourse to lockdown, practising social distancing and adorning face masks.

WHO, fully aware that Covid-19 had yet to have a vaccine, resorted to these measures of mitigation to arrest the spread of the contagion of death.

In announcing a national lockdown, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa acted in concert with other global leaders in the face of a rampaging infection.

Bulawayo's chances to exhibit itself at national best were thus deferred.

Dedicated resources were diverted.

Hopefully by just one other year. Zimbabwe cannot wait!

There can be no better occasion to take stock of the progress of our nation. There are things we have done right. Yes, we have also faltered in other instances.

On balance, we have not only survived a concerted and sustained onslaught, we are now poised to thrive notwithstanding the Covid-19 menace.

Independence and nationhood have been good to Zimbabwe.

Its benefits have enabled us to address a myriad of challenges.

Unity, stability, gender equality and hard work

The long struggle for independence gave Zimbabwe the invaluable heritage of unity.

It was honed through a people's war.

This scientific approach to warfare helped marshal the strength of every Zimbabwean to the battlefield effort.

The war effort brought in everyone regardless of tribe, language, region, gender, religion and creed.

From the onset, it adopted a non-racial tenet even as the enemy was the miscreant racial minority regime of Ian Douglas Smith.

Most important was its liberating effect of gender equality — the ferocity and intensity of the war effort simply called for all and sundry to contribute.

There was no room for pandering to niceties of male patriarchy and its stock of feudal sexist baggage.

In the war, women cadres fought on the frontlines as well as on the rear.

And women took on an equal and active part in supporting and sustaining the war in all communities.

National stability and a strong state machinery: No to civil war and turmoil

The political and military unity that was Patriotic Front of the Zanu-Zapu (Zimbabwe African National Union and Zimbabwe African People's Union) alliance ensured that we avoided a worst fate of full-blown civil war in the post-independence epoch.

Indeed, Zanla-Zipra military twins became the cradle of a professional army.

It was generous and visionary enough to go an extra step.

It went on to incorporate the willing elements of the former colonial army into the ranks of the victorious guerrilla armies.

Today, Zimbabwe takes pride in a combat tested, highly disciplined professional army that has gone on to win accolades in various United Nations peacekeeping endeavours.

Rooted deep in past exploits of self-sacrificing patriotism, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces are the fail-safe anchor of the State of Zimbabwe.

Organised, disciplined populace

The backbone of the nation of Zimbabwe is a population that was steeled by a people's war.

It places high premium on unity, vision, hard work and discipline.

Deriving from these virtues is the fortitude and forbearance at crucial times of need.

Zimbabweans have had to go deep to mine these virtues in the last two decades.

The indomitable spirit of Zimbabwe survived a determined and sustained onslaught from a hideous phalanx of determined post-colonial forces.

The US sanctions imposed under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act of 2001 (ZDERA) have been the Sword of Damocles hanging over the fate of the nation since.

Since then Zimbabweans eked their way to an economic existence under the menace of American Treasury inspections. The sanctions were imposed for the express purpose to debilitate and cower Zimbabweans back to colonial submission.

Chester Crocker, the former Assistant Secretary of State of the US, aptly remarked that Zimbabwe's economy had to be made to "scream".

To be precise, the goal was to cause a divorce between the people and their hard-earned State.

Sanctions were a mere blunt tool of social engineering.

The weapon to upend the "fish in the water" tenet of the revolutionary army and the masses per Chairman Mao.

Second Republic

The saving grace to thwart and offset the economic onslaught has been the solid support of the neighbours of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

This solidarity was born of the shared military co-operation as the sub-region confronted the common enemies of colonialism, white minority rule, racism and apartheid.

Save to say, the advent of the rule of President Mnangagwa has given SADC a new boost.

He is enjoying so much respect, trust and esteem from the fellow neighbourly leaders.

They all recall that he has been an enduring centrepiece of the defence and security architecture of the sub-region. President Mnangagwa has been involved personally in the events and processes to win freedom and later safeguard sovereignty in various neighbouring countries.

This task had urgency as the sub-region morphed from fighting national liberation movements to ruling political parties of independent and sovereign nations.

Puppet political parties

The dark forces of post-imperial ambition have been busy setting up and supporting puppet internal political forces as local agents.

These were serving as a prelude to the unseating of the governments begot by the national liberation movements.

In Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has eschewed the role of constructive opposition since its inception in 1999-2000.

Zimbabwe was severely tested on three challenging moments: First was the 2000-2002 Referendum of the Constitution Commission and the ensuing and sweeping Fast-Track Land Reform Programme.

Second was the 2008 inconclusive elections and the subsequent rerun.

The third and last was the 2017 November Glorious Revolution (Operation Restore Legacy).

Frustrated and mauled by these failures, the MDC lurched into anarchist violence in the latest challenge to the Second Republic.

As things stand, the opposition and their foreign handlers are dazed and confused.

Vision 2030: Zimbabwe is open for business

The Mugabe rule had nurtured a general antipathy directed against both global and domestic capital.

Rent-seeking behaviour and debilitating kleptocratic practices all conspired to gut the sinews of a once pulsating national economy.

Indigenisation laws sponsored by the so-called G40 scared away foreign capital.

Within Zimbabwe, malice-driven programmes like the "Bacossi" of the central bank decimated urban and rural traders. The effect was to disenfranchise communities from national economic activity.

The vacuum was filled up by business scumbags of every ilk and stripe.

They preyed upon the foreign exchange earned by small and medium tobacco farmers, as well as hard-scrabble gold miners.

This had the effect of pauperising the promising winners in a liberalised post-independent economic order.

History made the new Zimbabwe inherit an economy that had a relatively higher exposure to the global capital markets which sponsor development and growth.

This was courtesy of a sizeable population of Anglo-Saxon stock.

Out of sheer patriotic commitment they braved an emotionally challenging post-war transition and chose to continue staying in the country of their birth.

In the process, Zimbabwe became the United Nations poster child model of a post-war conflict resolution.

1980 Independence

At independence, the once deprived black majority took to the task of nation-building with the energy, vigour and discipline begot from a valiant war effort.

This sterling endeavours were best exhibited in the quest for education by the totality of Zimbabwean communities.

At independence, the national coffers were depleted by war and other vices of misrule.

Yet, the guerrillas had promised universal education as the indispensable anvil of modern national development.

Undaunted, the populace responded to the Herculean call by the new Government to address this historic promise. Demobilised freedom fighters took the lead in organising communities to self-build school infrastructure.

The hard-pressed Government was spared that task.

Instead, its meagre resources were directed to salaries for teachers.

A frenetic school-building exercise gripped the nation.

The Government would be overwhelmed by a shortage of teachers that could not fill up the sprouting community schools.

Thanks go to Comrade Fidel Castro of Cuba.

He still had the recently vacated former guerrilla training camps that used to host the armies of the national liberation movement.

In no time the camps were converted into teacher training centres.

Presto, 6 000 newly minted teachers returned home to Zimbabwe.

They helped close the gap to the delight of the communities and their newly built schools.

This is how Zimbabwe garnered the coveted status of UNESCO's highest literacy rate in Africa.

It is a fit well beyond the most generous of perennial budgets by other nations.

National prosperity beckons

The building blocks of the road to national prosperity are all in place.

President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic are now busy harnessing the unity, stability, hard work and high literacy of an organised and disciplined population.

He is reaching to the traditional business class. They need to abandon clandestine and underhand methods.

They should embrace an open and competitive business environment.

Hardworking farmers producing cash crops like the golden leaf tobacco farmers are being increasingly allowed to keep their foreign exchange.

The same is being applied to small and medium gold and chrome miners.

The two above business categories account for most of the hard currency Zimbabwe earns.

They also are well spread.

Thus, they broaden and deepen economic inclusion.

The erstwhile commercial white farmers are being courted to form joint ventures with the beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme.

Synergies created will boost access to capital and raise productivity.

The investment climate is being reformed.

The Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority is centralising and streaming out our incentives.

The World Bank has since registered positives in Ease of Doing Business Index.

The Second Republic will not stop or rest until it is perched on the pinnacle. By then, the ingenuity and hard work of Zimbabwe labour and expertise will be churning out world class and quality goods made in Zimbabwe for the global market.

At 40, Zimbabwe's quest for national prosperity is the overriding ambition. It chimes with the hopes and aspirations of the population.

National prosperity is the salutary tribute to those who sacrificed life and limb for freedom and independence.

Source - sundaymail
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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