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What 40 years of Independence has meant for Zimbabwe

20 Apr 2020 at 09:53hrs | Views
Today marks Zimbabweans 40th independence anniversary. This day four decades ago was a jubilant day as Zimbabweans looked forward to a brighter and fruitful future.

The declaration of independence in 1980 marked the start of a new era for many Zimbabweans, but 40 years later many of these dreams and hopes have been shuttered.

Zimbabweans had hopes for a brighter future, but this has slowly turned to hopelessness. A rundown economy, high inflation, political squabbles and human rights violations have been the norm of the day in the country.

A conflict of generation has since emerged in Zimbabwe and the younger generation is trying to fight the authoritarian rule. The liberation war heroes continue to dominate the political arena whilst the post liberation generation feels that development is being stalled by this older generation which is clinging onto power for too long.

Independence in 1980 marked the end to colonial rule, but it has been characterised with oppression and human rights violations. The ZANU PF government has seen to the shuttering of dreams and aspirations for the vast of the Zimbabwean populace.

A country once termed the "breadbasket" of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe has been reduced to begging for food aid year-in year-out. Though drought in recent years has played a part in worsening the food shortages in the country, the unplanned land grabbing exercise executed by ZANU PF in 2000 has been the root cause.

Properties which were confiscated comprised of nearly a quarter of the country's large-scale farms and the commercial farming sector provided about 40% of the country's export earnings.

The land grabbing exercise disguised as a land reform programme by ZANU PF was a political gimmick to win votes and forcefully take over farms by the ZANU PF top dogs. Only those who were identified as being politically "correct" benefited from this ill planned land reform.

In 2000 the then Foreign Office minister, Peter Hain, described the situation as being very "irresponsible" given the volatility of the country.

15 years late, this unplanned land reform programme saw Zimbabwe been reported as one of the poorest countries on the globe. In 2015 News media reported that Zimbabwe was the poorest country in the world after the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tobacco exports declined in the country and jobs were also lost during the same land reform.

All this meant a decline in the inflow of forex and increased unemployment.

"A global business magazine has ranked Zimbabwe one of the two poorest countries in the world in a damning verdict of President Robert Mugabe's 35-year-rule," wrote New Zimbabwe in 2015.

These sentiments tell a lot about how Zimbabwe has transformed over the past four decades and how the situation has worsened since the attainment of independence.

Robert Mugabe was accused of gross human rights violations and sentiments by former Tourism minister Walter Mzembi tell a lot about the character of the now Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mzembi said that Zimbabwe was now worse off under Mnangagwa.

Mzembi and Mnangagwa both served under Mugabe. These were amongst Mugabe's top lieutenant, these two used to wine and dine together. They benefitted from the ZANU PF administration before the falling out which saw Mzembi skipping the country in 2018.

As Zimbabwe celebrates 40 years from colonial rule, a look into the past 40 years will show a true conflict of generations for many Zimbabweans. From more than three decades of Mugabe rule, to a military coup which saw the once celebrated stateman Mugabe ousted from office.

Zimbabwe had built an excellent medical and education system which was an envy of the continent, but all this has crumbled to the ground.

As Zimbabwe celebrates its independence today, it is worth to note that true independence goes beyond the flag and national anthem; and Zimbabweans should also appreciate what the war veterans did in liberating the country.

Source - Prince Njagu
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