A year after the passing on of national hero Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, ZAPU says the political uncertainty in Zimbabwe reminds them of his concerns on the lack of democracy in the country.
Dr Dabengwa passed away on May 23 last year and to commemorate the first anniversary of his passing, the opposition party held a virtual memorial to honour his legacy.
ZAPU acting president, Isaac Mabuka, said the late national hero was committed to change in his quest for good governance in the country.
“One year since he passed away, the political uncertainty in the country reminds us of Dabengwa’s concern at lack of democracy in Zimbabwe. One area in which he strived to make a difference was the creation of unity among opposition parties,” he said.
Mabuka lamented that ZAPU and Zimbabweans have lived for one year without the ‘strong’ political presence of Dr Dabengwa whose counsel was sought by leaders and analysts.
“His life and politics were difficult to separate to do his things. As we said at his funeral, he lived and breathed his politics because he put the state of the country and the state of his party above personal wealth and attention to his health,” he said.
Mabuka admitted it was sometimes frustrating to party members to see how often Dr Dabengwa refused to react to frustrations when others in the party were preoccupied with outflanking him and his considerable credentials to provide leadership.
“This was the case before the 2013 and the 2018 harmonised elections. These efforts are a separate topic for another day and another time. Today the important thing is that Dr Dabengwa played his part and those who remain behind have to learn from his ability to put the common good above his interests and political standing,” he said.
Mabuka noted Dr Dabengwa was among the earliest to recognise change would not come easily to a polarised country, therefore pushed for a National Transitional Authority (NTA).
“He worked with SAPES to push for an NTA that could provide consensus for a peaceful end to the regime of late President Robert Mugabe before his ouster in 2017. In the same manner, Dr Dabengwa gave unstinting support to religious leaders in their inter-faith push for peace, justice and reconciliation,” he said.
Since last week, numerous tributes to the memory and life of Dr Dabengwa, the “Black Russian”, have been offered from both inside ZAPU and outside.
This will continue until June 2.
Mabuka said Dr Dabengwa was a giant who left huge footprints on independence and freedom struggles in Southern Africa and not just in Zimbabwe.
“Historically, Dabengwa and his colleagues bridged the ever-increasing militancy against colonial racist regimes in the region and the resort to arms that brought independence to Zimbabwe and should have brought real freedom in the process.
“On the eve of his funeral when I spoke at White City Stadium in Bulawayo and from the other speakers on that day, the theme of the unfinished business of the liberation struggle was predominant. This was because there were strong feelings the sacrifice of Dabengwa and many people who literally grew up in “the struggle” had not been adequately justified,” he said.
“The sacrifice should have ushered in a better life for Zimbabweans. Instead, the way living conditions and enjoyment of basic freedoms had either remained unfulfilled or were further eroded are eloquent reminders of why we went to war and lost so many young people as well as innocent civilians.”