Zimbabwe at 32

We commemorate 32 years of independence and take time to reflect and ponder pertinent aspects of this social contract which need re-negotiation. As citizens, we take this time to evaluate the extent to which the state has succeeded in fulfilling its mandate: the delivery of political goods after three decades in Government.

Human security

We acknowledge the efforts made by the state in the past 32 years in the provision of national security in securing the boarders and territory of the country called Zimbabwe. We also acknowledge the efforts made at the onset of independence in the creation of a professional police force which discharged its duties professionally and reduced serious crime to a minimal. However, the immediate post independence disturbances in Midlands and Matebeleland (the Gukurahundi) and all post independence election related political violence have reversed the citizens’ confidence in the state’s capacity to protect and ensure their security of all.

The state needs to restore citizen confidence in the institutions which guarantee security of all citizens in spite of their political religious and other affiliation. The social contract can be repaired by building democratic and professional security institutions which are answerable to the citizenry through their elected representatives.

Secondly, the Zimbabwean Government has the duty to instill the rule of law. This entails the need for enforceable just laws, the security of property and contract, an independent judicial system and laws which derive from internally and externally validated norms. As citizens, we applaud the immediate post independent efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe of ensuring that the laws passed were just, predictable, recognizable and systemized. We however note with great concern that we the ordinary citizen have lost confidence in a judicial system which has been greatly compromised by accusations of corruption and politicization at the expense of the delivery of justice to all citizens.

Thirdly, we are convinced that the struggle for independence was to ensure all citizens participate fully, openly and freely, in all political processes in spite of their race, ethnicity, political, religious and social inclination. We also bear in mind that the rallying call of the nationalist movement was the fight against exclusion and the right to compete for elected political office, the respect and support of political institutions, tolerance of dissent and differences, fundamental civil liberties and human rights.

In this regard the state has failed. Life has been lost needlessly during national elections with no prosecution of perpetrators of violence who have been officially pardoned on three occasions since 1980. This has created a culture of fear and hostage. 32 years of independence, one’s political affiliation still remain a closely guarded secret thereby stifling the necessary vigorous debate and discussion on issues of national importance. So while we celebrate the efforts and sacrifices made by those departed and living heroes of the liberation struggle we are disheartened that the principles have been sacrificed for the material.

It is the duty of the state to provide conditions for sustainable economic opportunities for all citizens. We acknowledge the immediate post independent efforts of creating conditions for citizens to maximize their entrepreneurial endeavors and building of infrastructure in the pursuit of development through the provision of education to the majority of our citizens. We are convinced however, that the process of economic empowerment started in enerst with the provision of education opportunities to the ordinary citizens who were disadvantaged and did not have access to the same facility. We believe the process of economic empowerment is therefore not an event and should be a well planned, all inclusive process.

The economic empowerment drive does not necessarily mean disempowerment of another section of the society. We ordinary citizens would want conditions which allow us to exercise our entrepreneurial skills without fear of the state appropriating our work for cheap short lived political gains. Empowerment is a process which starts with education, work, experience and investment. The inability of the state to provide conditions for work therefore militates against the attainment of the above.

Finally, we appreciate the efforts made by the state towards human development. At independence, the state invested heavily in the education of the citizenry with an increase in literacy levels. There was also an increase in food production. Concrete efforts were put at the provision of health and access to clean water even in the majority of rural areas. This has however been eroded. The provision of safe and clean water has been compromised even in urban areas where people’s access to clean water has been compromised.

The investment in education has not been matched with employment opportunities. Quality education is now a preserve of the few elite. The achievements in human development however face major challenges and the performance of the state in these areas in recent years can be improved. There is need to ensure food security by ensuring security of tenure of land owners and support by financial institutions in the financing of agriculture. The Government need to provide incentives for health and education personnel in order to curtail the effects of brain drain.

In the attainment of the foregoing, it is imperative to note on the 32nd anniversary of our country that conditions for the periodic renewal of the social contract, which should take place through democratic violence-free elections should be conducive and determined by the citizens. The fight for independence was a fight for democracy, a democracy which only makes sense if it connects and gives meaning to the very experience of ordinary citizens and provides them with effective and practical means of uninhibited participation.

As we celebrate 32 years, we yearn for the leadership at independence selfless, people -centred and sacrificial. As citizens, we will mobilize and demand the renaissance of the spirit of independence and freedom of all.

Post published in: News
  1. Wilbert Mukori
  2. Wilbert Mukori

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