When the late former President took over from the colonial system led government, the political arena took another twist.
Zimbabwe was once a promising country a jewel of the African continent and a hub of African industry but all vanished and went down the drain. We failed to take a holistic and radical approach to attain the gains of independence ushered to us.
In his speech made on the eve of Zimbabwe's Independence on 17 April 1980, Robert Gabriel Mugabe said:
"Democracy is… and should remain disciplined rule requiring compliance with the law and social rules. Our independence must thus not be construed as an instrument vesting individuals or groups with the right to harass and intimidate others into acting against their will. It is not the right to negate the freedom of others to think and act, as they desire". But was he telling us the truth.
Since 1980 Zimbabwe has seen a gradual disintegration and gradual shrinking of the political space because Mugabe wanted to create a one party state.
Zimbabwe will be turning 40 years of Independence in two weeks time and as we reflect into all these years, I see the country making some few strides forward and more steps backwards.
Since independence Zimbabwe has been going through a lot of storms ranging from political, social and economic ones. The country has been ravaged by drought, poor governance, cult politics, poor economic policies, corruption and lack of political will.
We have lost 40 good years doing unproductive politics, witch hunting, fighting each other to score political goals and seeking political space instead of discussing issues to do with development in order to boost our dwindling country's economy.
Yes the country has failed to recognise the facets of economic development like the construction of roads, investing in sound health care and communication and engineering. Our infrastructure is an eyesore to look at as I write this, 40 years into independence. We have been overtaken by countries like the once troubled Rwanda, Ethiopia just to mention a few.
The current leadership of our country masquarading as the new dispensation has failed to address issues to deal with the national healing of the nation.
The ineffective National Peace and Reconciliation Commission has failed to intricately address issues to deal with peace, unity and harmony in the country rendering it useless.
There is no way a country can move forward if there are still fissures of discomfort, dehumanisation and disunity amongst its citizens.There is still discontentment within the nation where people are pulling in opposite directions. The political arena has become a hard hat area for the opposition leaders and members. They must navigate with caution if they really want to participate and play their roles in politics,
Political harassment, abductions especially from members of the opposition has become the order of the day. Government food programmes have been politicised. Members of the opposition are denied access to food aid because of their political affiliations. There is no political tolerance.
Sadly our police force instead of being professional has become too partisan. Instead of carrying their duties without fear and favour and with partiality, we have seen them on several occasions selectively applying the laws in favour of the ruling party.
The country with its wonderful resources has been exposed to the jaws of poverty where a family of five is now living under US$2 per day. Inflation has been spiralling upwards with prices of most basic commodities shooting up on daily basis and the local currency being weakened.
The country has been going through hyperinflationary environment for decades pushing skilled people out of the country to seek for greener pastures because of the biting econony.
The country only showed some signs and symptoms of development during the time it brokered a political agreement between the late former Movement for Democratic Change Opposition party leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirayi. They entered into a Government of National Unity (GNU)and the economy started sprouting and showing signs of life.
We had so many things that needed attention and to be addressed. Zimbabwean leaders during and after the (GNU) failed to take advantage of the prevailing political and economic stability to solve the challenges facing the country and we were sadly back to the default settings.
Today the future of the country is bleak. Many young Zimbabweans are doomed.
On International arena, we have failed to attract the best necta and our re-engagement mission seems to be hitting a brickwall because of our lack of commitment to reforms.
Instead of making inroads we are creating more enemies than friends. The mantra Zimbabwe is open for business is just on paper. Investors are not willing to come where there is no political and economic stability and where people are pulling in different directions. We have self quarantined and isolated ourselves from the international community.
Today I challenge the youths to pick up the pieces left by their predecessors and knit them together to build a greater Zimbabwe. Happy Birthday to Zimbabwe.
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