On 13 August 2018, Zimbabwe once again pays tribute to its gallant sons and daughters, whose selfless and exemplary contribution during Zimbabwe’s protracted liberation struggle is the reason our country attained its Independence in 1980.
We are a nation of heroes and heroines. A nation of warriors. Warriors of peace.
The commemoration and celebration of our country’s heroes and heroines is a fitting time to take stock of how far we have gone as a country towards making the values and ideals of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle a living reality for our country and everyone who lives in it. What have we achieved? What is our deficit?
It is notable that we are commemorating this year’s edition of Heroes’ Day two weeks after holding a historic general election, whose national spirit is reminiscent of the 1980 election that founded our country’s First Republic under the Lancaster House Constitution as an expression of our country’s heroic liberation struggle.
The unsatisfactory, and in fact scandalous, way this election was conducted is an indictment of the ruling elite, who have monopolised state politics in our country for 38 years, and a betrayal of the heroes and heroines who made an independent Zimbabwe possible in 1980.
As in 1980, Zimbabwe today is on the brink of the end of an era; after 38 turbulent years of Independence during which the fundamental values and ideals for which our country’s heroes and heroine paid the ultimate price have remained elusive.
Section 3 of our new 2013 people-driven Constitution, which replaced the Lancaster Constitution, stipulates the founding values and principles of a new Zimbabwe, the Second Republic. One of the key founding values and principles of a new the Second Republic, is a multiparty democratic political system.
This system has eluded Zimbabwe for 38 years and yet it was one of the main grievances of the liberation struggle that our heroes and heroines fought for under the banner of “one person one vote”.
The time has come to commemorate and honour the heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle by defending the one ideal and value they selflessly fought for: one person one vote. This ideal is part of our Bill of Rights and which is a sine qua non of the multiparty democratic political system envisaged in Section 3(2)(a) of the Constitution. It is not possible to achieve this if we allow a militarised clique, that calls itself Zimbabwe’s stockholders, to unleash brute force against unarmed civilians in pursuit of electoral theft.
We must resolutely do everything in our power under our Constitution to say no to fraud and repression either in our electoral politics or our justice system. We must say no to the rule of men, in favour of the rule of law. The will of the people, expressed at the polls, must prevail in honour of our heroes and heroines.
This day, I call upon every Zimbabwean, local or abroad, to take a moment to observe and honour those who lost their lives for this beloved and beautiful country, Zimbabwe. My heart is with all the grieving families of the dear departed. My new Zimbabwe pledge is a people’s republic where everyone’s safety, security and happiness are guaranteed.
To move our country forward we need to be together on liberation values, we have a patriotic duty to ensure that our heroes and heroines did not die in vain. That cannot be read to mean vindictiveness. But those who have sinned against our people must commit to sin no more, this is the pathway to forgiveness. Our nation is broken. Our people are divided. Our society is tormented. Zimbabwe needs truth, healing and reconciliation.
Get ready to smile again, get ready to celebrate. Change is coming. God is in it.
God bless Zimbabwe. God bless you.
Advocate Nelson Chamisa
President – MDC Alliance