ZIM@ 40: 2 DAYS TO GO
By Manungo Vongai
Bulawayo the City of Kings and Queens was gearing up to host a party of epic joy and jubilation on 18 April 2020. Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe and had been honoured by His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa to host the first ever National Independence Celebrations outside of the capital city Harare. This act of unity and graciousness had never happened in the fourscore years of nationhood. This was the Second Republic stretching out its mantra of reaching out to all Zimbabweans so that no one will be left out of the sheltering national inclusiveness.
The month of April holds a special place in the hearts and minds of all Zimbabweans and those who wish it well. April 18 is Independence Day. On that special day in 1980, the imperial British Union Jack was pulled down by Prince Charles. Hoisted up, was the new Zimbabwe flag. It was a joyful moment weighted down by deep solemnity and serenity.
The road had been long, arduous and deeply painful. Gorged scars from the death of thousands finally in the war of independence were being rubbed with the anointing balm of nationhood.
There is always no other day as enduringly memorable as a birth day even at personal level. It is an occasion to yearly celebrate the beginning of one's endurance as well as take stock of achievements notched up, celebrate them with family and other loved ones. Challenges are also assessed and new goals set to scale further successes.
From nowhere, the global pandemic of COVID 19 struck. In the process it smothered the gathering mood of festivities being prepared by Bulawayo citizens to celebrate the premier day of the nation of Zimbabwe. A global dash to safety ensued with a universal recourse to lockdown, social distancing, wearing of gloves and the adorning of faceless masks.
The World Health Organisation fully aware that Covid 19 had yet to have a vaccine resorted to these measures of mitigation to arrest the spread of the contagion of death. On 31 March 2020, President Mnangagwa went before the nation and proclaimed a 21 Day National lockdown. He acted in tandem with other global leaders in the face of a rampaging infection that modern medicine was yet to develop a vaccine for.
Bulawayo's chances to exhibit itself at national best were thus deferred. Dedicated resources were deferred hopefully by just another year. Zimbabwe cannot wait!
Still life has to go on as Zimbabwe tries to stave off a crisis of global proportion.
Independence and nationhood have been good to Zimbabwe. Its benefits have enabled people to address a myriad of challenges and thus avoid a threatening crisis if not catastrophe, Covid 19 included.
The long struggle for independence gave Zimbabwe the invaluable heritage of unity. It was sharply horned through waging a scientific People's War which marshalled the strength of every Zimbabwean regardless of tribe, language and region.
Most importantly, was its liberating effect on gender equity. The ferocity and intensity of the liberation war effort simply called for all contribution regardless of gender. Customary patriarchal practices and prejudices had no place in the combat of the people's war.
The political and military unity that was Patriotic Front of the ZANU-ZAPU alliance ensured that they avoided a worse fate of full blown civil war in the post-independence era. It became the cradle of professional army as it incorporated the willing elements of the colonial army with the ranks of the victorious guerrilla armies.
Today Zimbabwe takes pride in a combat tested, highly disciplined professional army that went on to win accolades in various United Nations peacekeeping endeavours. Rooted deep in past exploits of self-sacrificing patriotism, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces are the fail safe anchor of the State of Zimbabwe.
The backbone of the Nation of Zimbabwe is populace that was stilled by a people's war. It places high premium on unity, vision, hard work, and discipline, as well as forbearance and great sacrifice in times of need.
These virtues came in handy in the trials and tribulations of the past two decades. The indomitable Spirit of Zimbabwe survived a determined and sustained onslaught of hideous post-colonial forces.