By Luke Tamborinyoka
Today is Independence Day—a once-hallowed day that has since lost its glitz because the requisite freedoms associated with the occasion are glaringly absent in this cursed nation.
Coming in the week that Zanu PF has introduced a Constitutional Amendment Bill that seeks to create an imperial President—the same week that the same analogue party has sought to resurrect its terror troops popularly known as the Green Bombers—this year’s Independence Day is a hollow occasion whose emptiness has just rendered it utterly meaningless.
The sons and daughters of this land paid the ultimate price in the hope that their struggle would yield a country that respects basic freedoms, particularly the rights and freedoms of speech, movement and assembly. Alas, political independence came alone, shorn of the requisite freedoms for which many lost their limbs so that the whims and hopes of future generations would walk again!
The right to vote, which was one of the key grievances of the repressed black majority, has been routinely betrayed as evidenced by pilfered polls that have resulted in the successive vicious cycle of disputed polls.
Zimbabweans have now been brazenly denied the right to vote as the regime hides under the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid the holding of by-elections that are long overdue, even as the regime has held its own DCC elections and allowed its surrogates to hold their elective Congress.
Today, especially under Emmerson Mnangagwa, we commemorate the day when a host of political prisoners of conscience have needlessly been arrested and are currently detained on trumped-up charges while criminal elite is roaming scot-free. Our real crisis is that in 1980, independence came without the requisite freedoms, rendering any claims of independence trite and vacuous.
The conviction of Makomborero Haruzivishe and the repression levels that have simply run amok are making any claims to independence a sick joke.
Mnangagwa has not only proved to be a Robert Mugabe on steroids but is even proving to be a threat to the repressive legacy of Hitler’s Third Reich.But perhaps the biggest tragedy is that Zimbabwe’s independence came without the attendant freedoms.
Renowned poet and author, Freedom T. V. Nyamubaya, in an epic poem, so aptly captures the dilemma of a vacuous political independence that came without the requisite freedoms. The following poem by the respected poet captures Zimbabwe’s parlous predicament through an epic metaphorical illustration which only a luminary writer could muster:
Once upon a time
there was a boy and a girl
forced to leave their home
by armed robbers .
The boy was Independence
The girl was Freedom
While fighting back , they got married
After the big war they went back home
Everybody prepared for the big wedding
Drinks and food abounded
Even the disabled felt able
The whole village gathered waiting
Freedom and Independence were more popular than Jesus
But Freedom was not there
An old woman saw Freedom’s shadow passing
Walking through the crowd, Freedom to the gate
All the same, they celebrated for Independence
Independence is now a senior bachelor
Some people still talk to him
Many others take no notice
A lot still say : it was a fake marriage
You can’t be a husband without a wife
Fruitless and barren Independence staggers to old age
Since her shadow , Freedom hasn’t come
Indeed, there is nothing to celebrate. Independence day has become a tortuous and painful day that reminds us of what might have been. A fleeting moment that encapsulates a missed monumental opportunity.
“Happy” independence Day, fellow Zimbabweans.
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa. You can interact with him on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo .