Zimbabwe is 32, God Bless Zimbabwe

Today Zimbabwe is 32 years old. Happy birthday Zimbabwe. Fellow Zimbabweans as we celebrate and reflect on this milestone that our nation has reached, it is prudent that we take a moment to think back and reflect on the road that we have travelled and were are today. In 1980 following a protracted war of liberation Zimbabwe was born. We celebrated, our friends celebrated with us. As a young boy then aged ten I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders in Rufaro Stadium in Mbare as we watched Bob Marley who had come to celebrate with us belt out the song ‘Zimbabwe’ “ Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny, And in this judgement there is no partiality. So arm in arms, with arms, we'll fight this little struggle, Cause that's the only way we can overcome our little trouble. Brother, you're right, you're right, You're right, you're right, you're so right!We gon' fight (we gon' fight), we'll have to fight (we gon' fight), We gonna fight (we gon' fight), fight for our rights! Natty Dread it in-a (Zimbabwe);Set it up in (Zimbabwe); Mash it up-a in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe); Africans a-liberate (Zimbabwe), yeah. Yes, Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 brought with it a people’s right to self determination, a people’s right to decide their own destiny without any external interference. Armed with the commitment at Lancaster guaranteed by the United States government led by President Jimmy Carter our former colonisers Great Britain agreed to a fail proof plan to finance the land redistribution exercise on a willing seller, willing buyer basis.....and so we thought. It took the letter written on the the 5th of November 1997 by Clare Short the Secretary of State for International development in the then Tony Blair led Labour government that had just come into power a year earlier to wake us up from this deep slumber that we had allowed ourselves to fall into. This deep sleep that befell us because of this unqualified expectation that we had won our country back and hence the rest would be a walk in the park. We get the money from the British guaranteed by the Americans; buy back our land from the 5000 or so white commercial farmers, give it back to our people and our revolution would be complete. That was not to be: In a letter to Kumbirai Kangai the then Minister of Agriculture Clare Short made mince meat of the Zimbabwean expectation: “I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers. This woke us up from our deep slumber. It took the uprising from a little known village inhabited by the Svosve people to raise the nationalistic sentiment in us. The nationalistic sentiment over the realisation that political independence without the land was merely an empty revolution. The nationalistic sentiment that in as long as Zimbabweans remained ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water” as the founding leader of the African National Congress John Langalibalele Dube once put it Zimbabwe will never know true independence. In other words the Svosve people woke up a nation in slumber. The Svosve people woke up a nation that had procrastinated in the execution of the final phase of the struggle. The Svosve people propelled the government to enact the Land Acquisition Act of 2000, this amended the less ambitious land acquisition legislation, notably that of 1992 and that of 1997,the legal basis for which Zimbabweans could finally acquire their land taken from them ironically through a similar act of parliament by the Rhodesians using the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 in which black Zimbabweans were denied access to the best agricultural land and forced to eke out their living from small plots on "tribal reserves." It is no secret that the fast track land redistribution exercise, an exercise designed to undo the injustices of the colonial era earned Zimbabwe and its people enemies who were not comfortable with the idea of ‘African liberating themselves’ As Zimbabweans we have had to grapple with the illegal sanctions on a country set upon the irreversible path to self determination. Zimbabwe has had to and continues to grapple with The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act an act passed by the United States Congress denying Zimbabwe a form or line of credit. This was swiftly complemented by a European version of the same. Today as we celebrate 32 years of independence, let us be mindful of the fact that we stand upon the shoulders of these Zimbabwean black man and woman who started this revolution, the Svosve man and woman and many others. Let us be mindful of the fact that this revolution is not complete. Zimbabwe will and continues to meet its fair share of challenges as we move forward. The discovery of diamonds and other precious minerals in our land is sufficient proof that God is on our side. If God is for us, who can be against us. God Bless Zimbabwe and happy birthday Zimbabwe.

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