The Sunday Mail
Tomorrow Zimbabwe celebrates the heroes who fought for the country’s independence. The celebrations come after landmark elections that re-affirmed the need to safeguard the ideals of the liberation struggle. The Sunday Mail’s Debra Matabvu spoke to Zanu-PF Politburo member and Principal Director of the Chitepo School of Ideology, Cde Munyaradzi Machacha, on what Heroes Day means today. We publish excerpts below.
Cde Munyaradzi Machacha
Heroes Day is a day we, as a nation, set aside so that we revere some of our citizens that made a sacrifice for this country to be where it is today.
It is a day we honour our heroes and heroines, both living and dead, for liberating the country from colonial repression.
We honour those men and women buried countrywide, some of whom we may know and some we might not.
It is a day that should be kept sacred by the present and future generations of the country.
Remembering them is part of a lesson that we need to put the interests of the country first to ensure that it is well defended from external and internal enemies; that we should put our country first in terms of economic and social development.
However, over the past few years, some men and women, who are still alive were no longer being accorded the respect they deserve.
Although the national Constitution and Zanu-PF constitution recognise war veterans, in practice, war veterans were being looked down upon. These men and women were no longer accorded the respect they deserve.
This year, the Heroes Day celebrations are going to be different. They come soon after the 2018 harmonised elections and Operation Restore Legacy.
One thing that was restored by November 2017’s Operation Restore Legacy is respect for those who fought for the country to be free.
This is a different Heroes Day, one full of hope and expectations from the new dispensation.
After the new Government is formed, we expect the dignity of the living heroes and heroines to be restored and their welfare improved.
So this Heroes holiday is full of expectation and these expectations are valid because the new leadership will not misbehave like the old one.
After Operation Restore Legacy we immediately made steps to ensure the ruling party and the country go back to their original state of ideology.
We opened up space within the party itself so that more people can participate in its activities.
Many people will know that the Zanu-PF primaries were oversubscribed and we had an excesses of over 80 000 people who wanted to participate in the elections.
Parallel to that, we saw for the first time that the elections had 133 political parties and provided 23 Presidential candidates.
We want to make sure that the people of Zimbabwe enjoy the benefits of Independence.
Those who fought for this country had a main objective to make sure that the people are truly free; that they are bestowed all the rights enshrined in the Constitution. It is no longer something we talk about, it is something that people live.
We walked that talk and the elections were truly free, fair and credible, despite others agitating violence.
People resisted the call to destroy property, which is another clear sign of how we have matured as a nation. People can express themselves without being violent. Now that the elections are over, it is time to move forward as a country and as a party.
Our Presidential candidate won by more than 50-plus-one vote, which means he is a very legitimate winner.
Had it not been that the party has a long track record of high performance, our ideological position is very strong, and we are experienced in mass mobilisation, this would have been a very difficult election because the party had three eruptions in the past five years.
First it was the Gamatox which saw some party leaders and few followers being expelled.
This was followed by the G40 onslaught on what they called the Lacoste group, where they suspended and expelled quite a number of party members.
This led to Operation Restore Legacy where leaders of the G40 where were expelled from the party.
A party which had gone through such trying trials episodes, naturally, would not be expected to perform well as we did.
We give it to our people, for being mature.
So what we are doing now is to look at our weaknesses and strengths and we prepare for the future. I can assure you that this party will be in power for a long time.
When the President says “tichatonga, tigotonga, tigotonga…” he not just saying something to mock other parties, but expressing an ideological position in which the party is ready to serve the nation of Zimbabwe in perpetuity.
Therefore, we will take the necessary steps to strengthen our party so that come 2023, we will be ready again to run and win the elections.
We are committed to do that through expanding our Commissariat work, increasing outreach programmes, and selling our manifesto by making sure what we promised during election campaigns yields visible and tangible results which the people can see, live and appreciate.
We will implement our manifesto, and through our mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business” we will encourage FDI, we will encourage domestic investment, resuscitate our industries and grow our agricultural sector among a host of economic stimulants so that our country becomes a middle-income economy by 2030.
We are driven by what is in the manifesto. We will be focusing on economic recovery and growth, modernisation of our economy; a vision that will emphasise job creation and making sure that, as the President said, we surpass some of the countries in the region.
So, now we are building a proper campus and that should happen soon. Right now we are operating as a school without walls.
Also, in the next five years we will try to mould a new cadre who is loyal to the party and understands clearly what we need to do to achieve our various visions.
We will be targeting to rid the party of ideas that may cause lack of cohesion so that we have a shared vision and common understanding of what the party stands for, and the direction that should be taken.
It is our hope that our party school — the Chitepo School of Ideology — will also help us to achieve that vision and will make sure that we are equipped with the necessary tools to achieve that vision.