Let’s make amends with our history: President

07 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Let’s make amends with our history: President President Mnangagwa

The Sunday Mail

Sunday Mail Reporter

GOVERNMENT plans to honour and give a more forgiving eye to nationalists who contributed significantly to the liberation struggle, but later deviated, as tomorrow’s Heroes Day should be dedicated to forward-looking introspection, President Mnangagwa has said.

The President singled out Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole as one of such luminaries, saying despite his shortcomings, he provided ideological guidance to fighters and politicians alike, during the country’s quest for independence.

In this week’s instalment of his weekly column for this paper, President Mnangagwa said there was need to revisit events of the liberation struggle with a more compassionate judgement as nationalists were walking an uncharted path.

President Mnangagwa said a maturing democracy like Zimbabwe’s, should be able to objectively confront its past, re-looking at what are generally accepted truths.

“42-years on, and especially on a day like tomorrow when we remember heroes of our National Struggle, we must all take time to reflect on our past, warts and all. In that reflection, we must remember that like history itself, no human struggles ever follow straight lines. Struggles are fraught with meanders, detours, missteps, tensions and contradictions, all of which may now look easier to avoid or solve by hindsight. Yet, as we all know, men and women who make history enjoy no benefit of hindsight,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said some who made mistakes, did so because they were walking a fresh path and did not have the benefit of hindsight.

“We who look back at key events in history, and at those in the thick of them, should learn never to judge too harshly. Things might appear neat, linear and simpler with the benefit of hindsight; yet in real-time they were not. Similarly, actors might appear inadequate now, again with the benefit of hindsight, yet they did their best under the circumstances.”

President Mnangagwa said Reverend Sithole was one of the key pillars of the liberation struggle.

“One man who looms large in the ranks of early leaders of our nationalist movement, but is not at our National Shrine is Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, the inaugural leader of Zimbabwe African National Union at its formation, after the 1963 split in the nationalist movement. Whatever his mistakes and missteps later in the Struggle, he deserves mention and acknowledgment in national annals,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Popularly known as “Musharukwa”, this leading nationalist, scholar and firebrand in fact gave our Struggle its intellectual grounding and depth, thus making it understandable to the wider world. His seminal “African Nationalism”, published in 1959, just a few years before the end of the Federation and onset of UDI, crystallised African thoughts and ideas in Struggle. For ZANU, it became a key resource book, out of which we capsulised our thoughts into timeless slogans.”

Decisions taken during the war were made under immense pressure, those who faltered in their thinking should not be crucified in perpetuity.

“Looking at leaders of our Nationalist Movement, culminating in the liberation struggle, we see a steady growth at every stage, with each generation playing its part and making huge sacrifices. We see more players than our National Shrine has been able to acknowledge or accommodate.

We also see pitfalls which attended to each generation and each effort. Our appreciation of our past must thus be wider and complete, without being blindfolded by easy binaries of good and bad, heroes and villains,” said President Mnangagwa.

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