- Last Updated on 10 August 2012
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The 13th and the 14th of August 2012 mark the commemoration of Zimbabwe's Heroes and Defence Forces Days. This is a time when the nation celebrates and remembers the selfless dedication of our heroes and heroines who toiled and moiled for the Liberation of Zimbabwe. These include Edgar Tekere, Ndabaningi Sithole, Josiah Tongogara, Jason Moyo, Hebert Chitepo, Lookout Masuku, Joshua Nkomo and all other luminaries of the liberation struggle who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and independence. Yes, they did it for Zimbabwe and all of its people; regardless of race, colour, creed or political affiliation.
The liberation war was not only aimed at defeating the white colonial regime but centred on ushering in a new culture of tolerance, peace, democracy and state accountability. It is regrettable that the values and principles that guided the liberation struggle are now being negated with unmatched impunity by those in Government today.
Human rights defenders in Zimbabwe are under constant threat under the Mugabe administration through subjection to long incarcerations on unfounded grounds because of their belief in self determination and respect for humanity. These include the erstwhile President of the Youth Assembly of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC -T) Solomon Madzore, and 28 others who have been incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum prison on false charges.
As Zimbabwe celebrates this day, it is befitting to also pay our tribute to the heroes and heroines of today who are selflessly preaching the gospel of true independence, respect for human rights, transparency, accountability, social and economic justice and other tenets of Democracy. These are our heroes, for they continue to be branded and labelled with defamatory names and yet they rise above selfishness and put themselves at risk for the betterment of all Zimbabweans. Solomon Madzore, Cynthia Manjoro, Rebecca Mafukeni, Yvonne Musarurwa, Tungamirai Madzokere, Lazarus and Stanford Maengahama, Phineas Nhatarikwa, Stanford Mangwiro and many others are the golden names cast in our Hall of fame and shall always be respected.
If human rights activists continue to be harassed and persecuted and if ordinary Zimbabweans are brutally assaulted or even killed for supporting a political party or for having a divergent view then we must ask ourselves whether this is what our fallen heroes longed for.
On the 14th of August, Zimbabwe celebrates Defence Forces Day. Zimbabweans salute the positive and heroic acts of our defence forces in bringing about our national independence and their involvement in international peace missions. In any country, the defence forces play an important role in safeguarding the country and its citizens. They are commissioned and sworn in to uphold the country's Constitution.
As Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition we have no reason to fight our national institutions if they are performing their national duty in a professional and non-partisan manner. But, we naturally take umbrage at the militarisation of our politics and the politicisation of the military. Today we witness with a pinch of salt the continued interference by our security forces in civil matters. The Security Chiefs continue to issue out partisan statements with impunity while other pockets of the police and the CIO have deliberately become a ZANU PF brigade. The past few years have seen the deployment of some members of the army into the villages to brutalise and attack innocent civilians on the basis of their political affiliation.
As the nation commemorates the Heroes and Defence forces Day Zimbabweans must acknowledge and celebrate the sacrifices that were made by these Heroes and Heroines. Zimbabwe should also thrive to safeguard the legacy of our heroes by defending the constitution of the land. Zimbabweans must defend the natural resources including the Diamonds so that the present and future generations benefit. The Heroes Day is for all Zimbabweans and let us celebrate it in a non partisan manner. Another Zimbabwe is possible.