By Charles Kunene Munganasa
Indeed I was there, this time when it was unfolding. Ndaivapo!
Like a house built of stone, we have stood the test of time, we ignored the strong winds and heavy rains and we are still standing up to now. This journey started in 1980 as the country attained independence. The government of Ian Smith paved way for the new government led by Robert Mugabe as the Prime Minister. Again, I was not there but I was always there!
I was there when the black government, redistributed land from the hands of the White minority into the hands of the Black majority.
This was the primary objective of the liberation struggle and a supreme victory was delivered. A lot of African countries believed independence began and ended with the sounds of 21 gun salutes, Presidential Inaugurations and all night music galas. For Zimbabwe, the true meaning of Independence, was when the majority got access to the land and all pillars of the economy. Independence meant a systematic and policy driven transfer of wealth from the settlers to the natives.
The need to redress the skewed ownership of productive assets gave rise to the process of indigenization and economic empowerment processes. To achieve this, the Government crafted policies which dignified and elevated the social status of the black people.
The land reform programme empowered in excess of 300000 black families who today are proud owners of productive farmland in Zimbabwe. Many black individuals and groups own mines and companies.
The scale of wealth ownership is now evenly balanced between the blacks and the whites. I was there when all this was happening
I was also there, when Zimbabwe started to dominate the sporting arena. I remember one night in July in the year 2005, when everyone was glued to their television set. As the race progressed, our hearts stopped beating for those few minutes as the country was on a brink of making history. As she touched the wall on her final lap, wild screams of joy erupted from all the four corners of the country. Yes, history had been made, Kirsty Coventry had just won an Olympic Gold Medal for Zimbabwe and she had broken the world record in the process.
I also remember that great night of December 1998 when Dynamos was just hours away from being crowned African Champions. Yes, that was the time of Captain Memory "Mwendamberi" Mucherahohwa who led Dynamos to the finals of the Caf Champions League. The coach at that time was Sunday "Mhofu" Chidzambwa who went on to lead the Warriors to their maiden Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Tunisia in 2004.
One would also remember the golden hockey girls, the world Karate Champion, Samson Muripo, the tennis sensational Black family and Eliot Mujaji who brought another gold medal from the Paralympics. I witnessed all these moments with joy.
I was also there when Robert Mugabe resigned and President ED Mnangagwa took over as President of the 2nd Republic. For the first time in my life I experienced freedom as the people took part in a collective action to declare a path for their own future. The new dispensation gave birth to a new democracy ushered in by ZANU PF and the people.
A democracy which respects the views of both the majority and minority, a democracy which is built on dialogue and mutual understanding, a democracy that knows no race, sex, age or social standing. Yes, I am a part of that democracy and my children will be a part of this democracy and their children's children too
Today as ZANU PF celebrates these milestone achievements of Independence, so many initiatives stand out above the rest. As the ruling party for the past 40 years, ZANU PF Government laid foundation for a strong education system which has produced thousands of graduates up to date. Our literacy rate stands at over 95% and even rank Marshals have the minimum required five O' levels.
Zimbabwe has also largely remained a peaceful country with high regard for human rights and life. Our tourism sector continues to attract thousands of tourists every year whilst the country strides to grow economically despite the years of hardships caused mostly by the illegal economic sanctions and mismanagement on the part of the predecessor government.
They also say, "life begins at forty." We have had our fair share of smiles over the forty years but reaching such a milestone always comes with hardships and challenges. We lost loved ones during the struggles for this independence. Later on, HIV and AIDS came and destroyed our families and social fabric. Most homes were broken and the country almost became an orphanage.
Then also came the above mentioned illegal sanctions which were an immediate response to our land reform program. Their negative impact can never be measured but one thing that can never be untold about these sanctions is that they made us stronger. Zimbabweans are known to be educated and hardworking people because we have always lived in the corner since the imposition of these sanctions
ZANU PF also had its own internal issues but it has emerged stronger with each and every year passing. As the party celebrates forty years of independence, we will always remember the dusty road we have traveled.
Currently we have come face to face with a pandemic that is threatening humanity. Nature has recolonized us and confined us to our houses. Our rights to movement and association have been limited once again and our independence is at stake but we will never be shaken because we have fought bigger battles before.
After all this, we will emerge stronger than before. This is the time to rediscover ourselves and define who we are. If you have carried a gun and spend numerous nights in the cold bushes surely you can never lose a battle that is fought with sanitizers in the comfort of your own home
Reaching forty years is never a joke and as the late Oliver Mtukudzi sang, "Nhasi Ndezveduwo Itai Makorokoto Kwatiri!!!!!