The Sunday Mail
The next couple of days are very important to those of us who take our freedom seriously. Tomorrow is Heroes Day, with the day after being our Defence Forces Day.
Heroes Day is an episodic reminder of how our brave children, dead and alive, fought relentlessly to deliver political independence.
When you come to think of it, the majority of them were really very young comrades who were driven by nothing but a selfless desire to see the end of imperialism.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, for instance, was only a teenager in the early 1960s when he joined the liberation struggle.
The generality of the comrades were actually under 40 when we attained Independence in 1980. This shows that our struggles have been fought and won by young people with a clear understanding of the greater cause.
Amidst the confusion that comes with puberty, these young comrades were already clear about one thing when they enlisted to fight the war at very young ages – they wanted to take back their country which had been dispossessed by vasina mabvi.
Their wet dreams were experienced in the cold trenches. They had to endure long years in beast-infested jungles, with no expectation of a salary come month-end, hence no demonstration to even think of if salaries were delayed by a few days.
Many perished without seeing Independent Zimbabwe and their bones are still in the bushes.
Their simple message to those who were with them, after being shot by the enemy and unable to continue, was “Katanurai zvikasha zvangu zvese, muende mberi nehondo, rambai makashinga comrade”.
This is the calibre of heroes that we celebrate tomorrow.
The spirit that moved them is aptly summed up in one of the famous speeches of the late Zanla commander, General Josiah Magama Tongogara.
He said: “What some of us are fighting for is to see that this oppressive system is crushed . . . I would like to see the young people enjoying together in the new Zimbabwe.”
Gen Tongogara was looking very far; beyond the River Jordan that he did not cross.
The “enjoyment” he was talking about would not merely come with political freedom per se. Political freedom was only a means to an end. Another revolution would bring that “enjoyment”.
You see, folks, even when the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land of milk and honey, they had to fight for every inch of it.
It was not delivered to them on a silver platter. They had to till the land and make it productive.
What comes after political freedom was aptly captured by Kwame Nkrumah in his powerful speech delivered at the founding of the Organisation of African Unity on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa.
Said Nkrumah: “Independence is only the prelude to a new and more involved struggle for the right to conduct our own economic and social affairs.”
“A new and more involved struggle”, folks. This is war – the journey to economic freedom, that is.
The enemy is still the same – the one that Mbuya Nehanda fought, the one that Dr Joshua Nkomo and President Robert Mugabe fought. What the enemy has simply done is change tactics.
The money he once used to bankroll his mercenaries to fight our comrades in the bush is now being given to some of us in corridors and in the streets so that we fight each other while they feast on our resources.
The words of Nkrumah are getting truer and truer by the day, that, “Africa is a paradox which illustrates and highlights neo-colonialism.
Her earth is rich, yet the products that come from above and below the soil continue to enrich, not Africans predominantly, but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment”.
The conflicts we encounter as Zimbabweans cannot be compared with the threats from those trying to recolonise us.
These are the ones who seek to seize every available opportunity to thwart and sabotage our prospects of economic prosperity by hook or crook, while planting a little leaven in our whole mass of dough.
They are the ones who put sanctions on our strategic companies such as Windmill, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe to crumble us. They are the ones who dictate that Zimbabwe cannot sell its ivory as it will turn around its economy overnight.
The list is endless.
And they laugh when we turn our swords against each other, because they know that it’s a distraction from the bigger picture we should be all looking at.
Some of the things we see today and apportion as failure to our leaders are actually symptoms of the wicked seeds that were planted long back by the enemy.
Folks, the struggle to sustainable economic development is a “more involving” one, just like Nkrumah alluded to. It requires young people who understand who the real enemy is and what his tactics are.
Without a good understanding of that, some young people of today are unwittingly fighting side by side with the enemy.
Young people are the main target of the enemy because they are the ones who fight the struggle, the economic struggle; just like the colonial struggle was fought by young people.
And given the fact that they are the majority, they are the ones who also employ governments, putting them into power through the ballot.
The Republic right now needs youth who are not gullible and are not tossed to just about every direction like chaff.
The cunning enemy will continue to laugh at us, seeing the extent to which his little money can go to wreak havoc amongst us; seeing how we are determined to burn the entire house simply because we have seen some ants.
If the young people who fought the Second Chimurenga had that kind of mindset, I doubt that the struggle would have been won. This is a new and more involved struggle which requires braver youths with a weightier commitment, youths who are not driven by selfish desires but by genuine love for Zimbabwe.
It is understandable how some young people can easily get tricked today, especially when they see the elderly being corrupt, nepotist, and doing all else that stinks.
Even a single penny can be more than enough to twist their minds.
Not to say that we should condone the elders when they are corrupt and abuse resources. You see, money is almost everything today, and a young person who has gone for a month without a dollar can do anything when it is flashed right before his face.
Without money you cannot pay rent, buy food or travel.
The youth, hence, bear the brunt of all that. This vulnerability might push them to extremes. They can be abused by just about everyone holding money in their blood-dripping hands. And for those 30 pieces of silver that the enemy extends, the youths can be tricked to the end of even kufarira n’anga inobata mai.
So long my stomach is full today.
Folks, the words of one Adam Smith still resonate here: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.”
There is an underlying neo-colonial agenda, and Government should take care of its youths to ensure the enemy does not put them on his payroll.
Government needs the youths on its side. The youths are looking for jobs and Zanu-PF has a pledge to fulfil, those 2,2 million jobs should come.
The ruling party has a duty to prepare every youth for the real struggle against the real enemy who is determined to take our resources.
You see, more than 2,2 million jobs can be created by simply giving land to every youth.
Not many youths benefited from the land reform programme, and they also do not have many opportunities right now.
Government should quickly embark on a deliberate youth land reform programme, which gives every youth seeking land an opportunity to get a piece of land to grow his/her mushrooms, and other crops or to rear animals.
This will not only bring social order, but ensure the youths have all the weapons they need to fight the real struggle against the real enemy.