Zim@34: Seeing sunshine beyond the mist
Thirty-four-years into Independence, Zimbabwe has made tremendous strides that will put to shame the most ardent of its detractors. Some of these achievements and milestones have been achieved in a season of open hostility and throwing of spanners into the works by big external forces.
Tangible improvements in the nation’s well-being have characterised the last three decades, borne of the selfless sacrifice of the gallant sons and daughters and anchored in the mass graves dotted in neighbouring countries.
As the nation celebrates 34 years of Independence and sovereignty, Zimbabweans should look back in appreciation at the achievements that the country has made under the wise leadership of President Robert Mugabe.
Regardless of the atrocities that were committed in the war of liberation by the Smith regime, President Mugabe extended the hand of reconciliation and the nation saw swords being bent into plough heads and bullets into pills to heal the battered country. The magnanimous, prudent and statesmanly decision by the President allowed the country to cultivate an environment of peace and security as well as fraternity.
Thus the development story of Zimbabwe began. The government saw the availing of hospitals and clinics in every corner of the country and an overall improvement of the health care system that today has culminated in the country having one of the lowest rates of HIV prevalence in the region.
Zimbabwe also boasts of the highest literacy rate in Africa as a result of government’s dedication to improving the education system. From 1980, the ZANU-PF government has managed to build many primary schools, secondary schools and universities countrywide.
Education plays a pivotal role of empowering an individual to be informed and to inform. The colonial regime and its bottleneck system did not capacitate the indigenes in this respect because they knew “information is the oxygen of democracy and that one cannot participate meaningfully if they are ill informed”.
They, thus suffocated the black majority by banning several literatures and making it difficult to access tertiary education.
Though the notion appears trivial to the present day generation, government’s fight to educate its citizens remains a beacon of democracy.
The land reform programme that was spearheaded by the ZANU-PF government is another notable achievement that other countries in Africa are now aspiring to emulate.
The programme afforded the previously disadvantaged indigenous people a chance to claim their birthright and use their God-given heritage to feed and improve the nation.
As a result of President Mugabe’s vision, over 300 000 Zimbabweans were resettled on more fertile land after a century of being condemned to arid areas.
Before the land reform programme, a minority 4 000 white farmers controlled 80 percent of agricultural land, which they often underutilised.
Currently, resettled farmers are engaged in efforts to restore the country’s breadbasket status despite the illegal sanctions imposed on the country.
Tobacco farming has risen exponentially, illustrating how much of a socio-economic boon the agrarian reform has been.
Sovereignty and identity were transferred back to the rightful owners, the people of Zimbabwe, by Independence.
An appraisal of Zimbabwe by one Cameron Modise of South Africa shows how these values of sovereignty and national identity are invaluable.
Said Modise: “… Actually some of us envy Zimbabweans because they own their own land; they are the masters of their destinies and are not waiting for some white European to rescue them from poverty.
“As Africans we are tired of living under white tyranny and whether the land reform is working better or worse in Zimbabwe does not matter, what matters is the land of Zimbabwe is in the hands of Zimbabweans and that is good enough.”
As the nation celebrates Independence Day, it is prudent to see through the mist of economic challenges and negative effects of the illegal sanctions and reflect on other achievements that foretell a bright future for the country.
In safeguarding this hard-won independence and achievements so far, it will be of paramount importance to note that the enemy is still there only in a different form.
Let us harness and combine our efforts for a better Zimbabwe in particular and Africa as a whole. – The Herald