By Perry Munzwembiri
“The final countdown before the launching of the new State of Zimbabwe has now begun. Only a few hours from now, Zimbabwe will have become a free, independent and sovereign state, free to choose its own flight path and chart its own course to its chosen destiny.”
On the eve of Zimbabwe`s independence day celebrations, these were the words that were spoken by then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
They heralded the dawn of a new era in a country emerging from years of brutal conflict that had ravaged the very fabric of its existence.
With an unyielding hope and a resolute faith, every Zimbabwean looked to a new Zimbabwe full of promise. A Zimbabwe, in which each individual though with differing dreams and ambitions, could enjoy the land of their inheritance and by the fruit thereof, is nourished.
Zimbabwe is and has always been a land of promise. Blessed with abundant resources and a strong willed people who have time and again risen above adversity to forge ahead in the face of insurmountable adversity; the full potential of the nation however, still remains untapped. The sad reality is that the country has not breached the realm of its unimaginable promise.
In spite of the seemingly great chasm between the hopes and dreams of Zimbabweans across this great land and the realisation of those ambitions, Zimbabwe`s script still remains uncompleted.
While the cynics will be quick at every turn to point out the failures and unfulfilled promise the country has had to endure; that cannot be what defines our journey as a unified people. Indeed, Socrates wisdom tells us that, ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’.
We do not therefore have to look at our past blindly, ignoring our shortcomings as a republic over the years. Instead we must look back at the past through a lens that allows us to learn from our failures and project further into the future, to horizons only eyes of faith can carry us.
As diverse as we are in our backgrounds, we all as Zimbabweans are knit closely together in that we all have the same shared vision of what the nation we are so proud to belong to should be.
A Zimbabwe where political independence translates to economic and social freedom, a society where the virtues of hard work and perseverance are afforded the recognition they so richly deserve.
A country with better schools for our children, a functioning health care system for its growing population, A nation where anyone willing and able to work will get meaningful employment.
This is the Zimbabwe we all desire, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or political affiliation. While we may differ on the path to take to arrive at our destiny, our union reminds us that there is more that unites us than that which divides us.
Some of this country`s finest moments have come when everyone wore the banner of nationalism and put country first above any individualistic aspirations. At a moment when we are faced with a severely depressed economy, it is this very spirit of nationhood that can only see us through this period of stagnation.
Scripture tells us that we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but, but not destroyed. We have had to witness tremendous difficulties that have threatened the attainment of our goals as a country.
The impediments to our progress are still present, and have shaken our nation to the core. Yet out of this rabble, there is undeniable potential of what this nation could rise up to be.
Let no one be under any illusion. The road ahead will be long. It will require every ounce of determination and grit, if we as a nation are to rise above the rising tides we have had to contend with as a nation.
Again, cynics will be quick to dismiss all this as mere rhetoric. It is understandable, that many of us may feel this way, after all; the events of the last decade have done little, if anything at all to inspire confidence in our politics or leaders.
There are many without jobs, decent shelter, access to electricity and sanitation. We still witness thousands who do not know where their next meal is going to come from, or what tomorrow is going to bring, and this sums up where we presently are as a country.
Yet we must avoid the temptation to settle and readily accept these present circumstances as our fate; the totality of our being as Zimbabweans.
We are not a people lacking in faith! Ours is a faith that is sure and firm. Yes, that faith has been tested and will continue to be tested, but collectively as a people, we must keep the faith and trust that our tomorrow will be better than our yesterday.
This is the message we must reaffirm to one another.
This country has come too far, for it to slide back into a downward spiral of stalled progress. Scripture reminds us that ours is a walk of faith not of sight, and in the flight to our destiny, we must keep that faith and not lose hope.
Now is not the time to allow the same pettiness that has been divisive to our nationalistic fibre, to find abode in our country. Let us then keep the faith in this beautiful land.
This is our home, and ultimately, the responsibility for shaping this nation into what we want lies solely on us. Precept upon precept, shoulder to shoulder, we must work for a prosperous Zimbabwe, and there is no doubt in my mind that if we remain diligent, we will get to our intended destiny.
As we so often pray to our father above in our national anthem; may the Almighty protect and bless our land.