Zim at 44: ZAPU laments failed promises and urges economic freedom 

ZAPU president Sibangilizwe Nkomo has lamented the country’s failure to fulfill the promises made 44 years ago.

Nkomo criticised the vast economic disparity between the elite and the poor, arguing that it’s worse than during colonialism.

He called this a betrayal of the sacrifices made by liberation war veterans.

“Zimbabwe’s social contract was broken after 1980,” Nkomo stated, blaming a “criminal and tyrannical mindset” among some leaders.

The ZAPU leader said following Zimbabwe’s sham elections in August 2023, citizens were “pining for a new day they can consider as their real Independence Day.”

Elections are normally supposed to offer a chance for the people to determine a government of their own choice. That is why we are opposed to any machinations about postponing elections beyond 2028,” Nkomo said.

“Zimbabwe’s constitution is the supreme law of the land. Anyone who attempts to shred the constitution cannot be counted among patriots. The people of Zimbabwe deserve a chance to give their mandate to genuinely elected leaders.”

Nkomo said stolen elections go against the one-man-one-vote ideal brought about by the protracted liberation struggle

“Vote rigging also deflates any hopes for economic recovery. Unemployment, drug abuse and mental health challenges have woven a web around our youths, killing their dreams and putting the future of our country at risk,” said the ZAPU leader noting it cannot be expected for every generation to wage a liberation struggle to change the status quo. 

This is why the ZAPU leader urged citizens to use this Independence Day to reflect and take stock of their “cumbersome” journey since 1980.

“ For how long shall we place our hopes in a dark cloud which does not bear any rain? The status quo is no longer sustainable,” Nkomo said.

“Let us work in unity to extricate ourselves from the political quagmire we find ourselves stuck in. Truth be told, 44 years is as good as a lifetime, all things considered.”

Nkomo needs Zimbabwe national consensus to add freedom to its independence. 

“Those who claim that the country is built by its owners do not make their mantras with the people of Zimbabwe in mind. Their mantra is premised on their belief that they are the bona fide owners of Zimbabwe,” he lamented.

“The gallant sons and daughters of our country who laid down their lives for our independence will only be truly honoured when we become free. Our children born after Independence will only accept to be labelled born-frees when true freedom is established in Zimbabwe.”

The ZAPU leader said despite the multiple challenges faced in Zimbabwe, citizens should not lose hope in the possibilities of change. 

“In the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Change is the only constant in the world,’” Nkomo summed.

Meanwhile, The Patriotic Front (TPF), said Zimbabweans must take a moment to reflect on the past and look to the future, having come a long way since gaining independence in 1980. 

However, the party said there is still much work to be done to build a better, brighter future for all Zimbabweans. 

“We acknowledge the sacrifices and struggles of those who fought for our freedom, and we honour their memory by continuing to fight for a just and equitable society. We recognise that true independence means more than just political freedom,” said TPF Interim Secretary-General, Prosper Ncube.

Ncube said true independence means freedom from poverty, inequality, and injustice.

“As we celebrate this Independence Day, let us recommit ourselves to building a country that offers opportunity, prosperity, and dignity for all,” he said.

“The TPF calls on all Zimbabweans to join us in this effort. Together, we can create a society that honours our past and looks forward to a brighter future. Let us also remember that independence is not just about the past, but also about the future.”

The TPF interim SG said independence should be a call for building a country that is inclusive, tolerant, and respectful of all people, regardless of their race, religion, or gender.

“The TPF believes that we must learn from our mistakes and work together to build a better future for all Zimbabweans,” Ncube said, calling on all political parties and civil society organisations to work together in a spirit of cooperation and reconciliation. 

“We must put aside our differences and focus on the common good so that we can create a country that is worthy of our people’s aspirations.”

Ncube emphasised that Independence Day should be a day of celebration, but it should also be a day of reflection and renewal. 

“Let us use this day to recommit ourselves to the cause of democracy, justice, and peace so that we can build a country that is prosperous, united, and free. Let us also recognise the role of the youth in shaping Zimbabwe’s future,” he said.

The TPF interim SG said the party believed that young people are the architects of the  future, and is committed to empowering them to become active participants in the political, economic, and social life of Zimbabwe.

“We must create a society that is defined by its compassion, inclusiveness, and commitment to the common good. On this Day, let us remember that true freedom is not just about removing obstacles but also about creating opportunities. Happy Independence Day!” he said.

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