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Where are these fruits of independence Zimbabweans are supposed to be enjoying?

09 Feb 2023 at 19:28hrs | Views
The next time I hear a senior government official, or some sycophantic ruling ZANU-PF supporter tell us about 'enjoying the fruits of independence', in all likelihood, I will scream!

I find nothing more infuriating than coming across those in the country's ruling elitist privileged clique making noise about 'the fruits of our independence that we, the people of Zimbabwe, are supposed to treasure, protect, and be enjoying'.

All I can ask is, "Where are these elusive fruits, which appear nowhere to be found, as millions of ordinary Zimbabweans languish in abject poverty"?

Every time we are reminded of how this 'freedom' was sacrificed for, I cannot help feeling like crying out at why our intrepid Sons and Daughters of the Soil sacrificed their lives for a dream that was never to be.

Why did all those thousands of innocent Zimbabweans pay the ultimate sacrifice?

Yet, in all this, the caboodle who were later to hijack the people's struggle - through the systematic elimination, by means of the sheer murder of genuine revolutionaries, thereafter, taking over the country's leadership at 'independence' - were primarily hiding and living relatively comfortably in neighboring countries.

Where is this 'uhuru' that was supposedly birthed on 18 April 1980?

What is being 'independent' when 7.1 million Zimbabweans (nearly half the population) are living in extreme poverty, and two thirds of the workforce earning far below the poverty datum, as 3 million people are reportedly food insecure?

Where is the 'freedom' when ordinary citizens die from preventable and curable diseases - simply because our health care facilities have been turned into death traps - lacking even the most basic of necessities, such as paracetamol, antiseptics, antibiotics, anesthetic, or radiotherapy machines (critical for cancer patients)?

What 'fruits' are there to enjoy when our children - in spite of all the sacrifices made by parents in educating them, in the midst of unaffordable school fees, yet in the absence of adequate learning material, or decent buildings - are forced into street vending, prostitution and drug addiction?

Is there anything to 'jealously guard and protect' when millions of Zimbabweans are being pushed out of their own country - due to the unbearable economic conditions, that have kept them hopeless and helpless - into the diaspora, where a significant number are being exploited, and callously turned into slaves?

What is there to celebrate when rural villagers are still insecure and unsafe on their own ancestral lands - 43 years after independence - such that, they are regularly forced off where their families had called home for generations, to make way for mainly Chinese companies, or well connected individuals, without any meaning compensation or benefit from the mining of local precision minerals?

Furthermore, at each and every turn, we still witness political prisoners continually being dragged before the courts in 'independent' Zimbabwe - some being repeatedly denied their constitutional right to bail, with trials being deliberately delayed - yet, the state adamantly refusing to strike them off remand, and dropping the obviously senseless charges, that are undeniably politically motivated.

On the other hands, those accused of corruption and the pillaging of our national resources - which even ZACC (Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission) declared possessed enough evidence for trial and successful prosecution - are freed by our judiciary, most likely on account of their (accused persons') proximity to power.

At the same time, the opposition is continuously being denied their right to hold rallies and other peaceful gatherings - yet, the ruling ZANU PF can freely conduct huge assemblies, and even loudly or rowdily march and demonstrate around the country.

So, what is the difference between what we are witnessing today in 'independent' Zimbabwe, and what our heroes and heroines fought against in colonial Rhodesia?

Surely, where is that 'freedom and liberty', when those who dare to speak out, and stand up - openly raising their utter disdain and disgust at the wanton and pervasive looting of our national resources for the benefit of the ruling class (as well as their friends and families), whilst millions of ordinary Zimbabweans sink deeper into the dark abyss of economic hardships - are continually arrested on spurious charges, that hardly result in any convictions?

Is this not merely political persecution - whereby, opponents and voices of dissent are victimized and vilified, based on tramped up charges - whilst at the same time, being denied their right to bail or removal from remand, with trials either never getting off the ground, or dragging on for years without anything of substance ever being brought before the courts by the state?

Even the Rhodesians were better, because they actually charged nationalists on real violations of the country's laws, leading to convictions and prison sentences - as much as these were maliciously oppressive and unjust towards the majority.

Nonetheless, in 'independent' Zimbabwe, the arrests are predominantly premised on no detectable and discernable breaking of any known legal statutes - but, based on pure malice and contempt of voices that expose and resist the undeniable systemic and institutionalized economic marginalization, alienation and disenfranchisement the people of Zimbabwe, by those in power.

Again, I ask - where is that 'freedom' that we are endlessly reminded about?

What is it that we are expected to 'jealously guard and protect' - when we have never seen or experienced this 'independence' and its alleged 'gains'?

Or, is the tragic reality that, this supposed 'Uhuru' is only being enjoyed by the few in the ruling elite - who have literally plundered and pillaged the country dry, enriching themselves to vulgar levels, at the expense of the suffering and impoverished millions

Which explains why they are the ones 'protecting' this 'independence', through brazen barbarity, and the brutal repression of any who may dare speak out, and stand up!

The ruling elitist privileged clique can 'jealously guard' their ill-gotten wealth - by savagely stifling any dissent - but, quite frankly, the rest of us find nothing to protect, as we have absolutely nothing to call our own.

‚óŹ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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