Remembering the June 27 curse

I believe 27 is a very significant number. When Nelson Mandela was released after spending 27 years behind bars, it was obvious that freedom had eventually arrived in South Africa.

More than 200 innocent people lost their lives in the run-up to the presidential election run-off, a culmination of politically motivated violence targeting mainly opposition supporters.
More than 200 innocent people lost their lives in the run-up to the presidential election run-off, a culmination of politically motivated violence targeting mainly opposition supporters.

Back home, many people remember the chilling events leading to June 27 of 2008 as a cold-blooded time in the history of Zimbabwe – second only to the Gukurahundi massacres in the early 1980s.

More than 200 innocent people lost their lives in the run-up to the presidential election run-off, a culmination of politically motivated violence targeting mainly opposition supporters. The absence of the rule of law during this time left hundreds of thousands if not millions disenfranchised. No measures were put in place to protect the security of the people, despite calls from the opposition, civil society, the church and the international community to do so.

It’s been seven years now since this heart-rending period passed, but what has not passed is judgement – judgement on those perpetrators who still walk scot free in our streets and villages. The long arm of the law, which should always be our shoulder to cry on, has failed to catch up with these murderers. Don’t they say justice delayed is justice denied?

We remember

On June 27 we remember these heroes and heroines and the immense role they played before dying in the line of duty, fighting to restore the political and economic integrity of this country.

Today we are in the midst of an enormous crisis. This fact is now known all over. The political and economic situation calls for action, bold and swift. All sectors of the economy have been badly battered – a culmination of greed and irresponsibility on the part of our leaders but also our collective failure to choose unity of purpose over fear, foolish conflicts and breathtakingly juvenile interests.

Zanu (PF)’s 2013 election promises, which among other things included the creation of two million jobs from 2013 to 2018, remain a pipe dream. What the election promises have managed to achieve to date are the more than 2 million illegal vendors in the streets!

The rule of law has not been appreciated as a cornerstone upon on which social and economic interaction depends.

An individual who is politically connected can get away with a heinous crime with ease. A person can disappear without a trace forever just like what happened to the likes of Patrick Nabanyama in 2000.

Resilience

Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts remain a mystery more than 100 days after his kidnapping. Yet we speak about issues like these in the hushed tone of fear, forgetting that a free society like ours must be defined by free cross-pollination of ideas on pertinent issues that affect the public.

Resilience is what should define our character. The character of any nation is judged not by its leaders but by its people. Leaders, like clouds, come and go but the people will always be there. The people like the sun are what is constant hence they cannot be extinguished.

We need leaders who embody the spirit of service, who see Zimbabwe as greater than the sum of their individual ambitions, rather than leaders who are always drunk with evil success and sick with inferior ambitions.

May the souls of all who lost their lives fighting for a democratic cause continue to torment the perpetrators until that spectre of a warming nation is restored. – Jacob Gwature is a social commentator. He can be contacted on [email protected]

Post published in: Human Rights

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