Independence Day: A time to reflect on successes and failures

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Writes Dr Gwinyai Muzorewa, UANC President
On the occasion of Independence Day on 18 April 2024, the United African National Council (UANC) wishes to congratulate the nation for being counted among other nations as a sovereign state. Sovereignty has dignity. Nation-building is virtuous. Since we acquired our one-man-one-vote in 1978, under Bishop A bel T. Muzorewa’s leadership, we have since utilized that principle, albeit we have had our shortcomings. It is worth celebrating this basic tenet of democracy and nation-building. But there are several other accomplishments to celebrate.
We celebrate that Zimbabwe now has over 20 universities and colleges with at least one institution of higher learning in each province. This empowers our youth to assume nation-building. Additionally, every Province has at least one institution of higher learning. Education is indeed the “gateway for success.”
As a nation, we have done a great job of providing such facilities for our youth. The African idiom is instructive. “It takes a village to raise a child”. Today we can celebrate that it takes a nation to raise the youth and our youth will continue to build the nation. What remains is for the government to create programs that allow our youth to be more productive, successful, and happy.
We celebrate our education system, despite the cost. Our teachers are doing their best to educate the nation, even when they have to give extra lessons, in their extra time. We celebrate their commitment to the profession. Parents count on the teachers for this mammoth task of providing academic education. Zimbabwe is among the top educated nations on the continent.
We also celebrate that most of our commercial farmers are doing their best every season to feed the nation. With more implements, the farmers would address the nation’s food security challenges. We have more dams now than ever before. However, irrigation programs need expansion throughout the country by harvesting more rainwater. The farmers need more financial and technical support to be more successful. Dealing with our national priorities in unity is most productive and profitable. After all, famine is non-partisan, as is poverty and death.
We celebrate our multiracial and multiethnic nation as well as the successes of all those officials who won the August 23-24 election and have taken up leadership positions as Councilors and Law-makers of the land. These officials were elected to serve the nation, regardless of political affiliation. Those who lost in the elections still have this country to celebrate. We will not throw away the baby with the bathwater. However, we cannot celebrate misery or poverty, corruption or failed economy. Injustices, incidences of disappointment, and loss of loved ones mainly due to poor infrastructure, or properties, cannot be celebrated either.
Reflecting on the nation’s status quo and projecting the future, especially the political and economic aspects, the UANC envisages a more prosperous nation only if the nation would unite in building a peaceful, political atmosphere that is conducive to investment, national development, and prosperity for all. A few elites who have amassed the nation’s wealth will not make our nation prosperous. The economic situation must improve from high unemployment to great job opportunities, which can only happen if we unite in our diversity and work together on national priorities.
The UANC believes in constructive opposition to the ruling party, giving the nation an alternative economic trajectory. Positive opposition leadership maintains that, through dialogue with the ruling party leadership, we can build a more prosperous and democratic nation. Chanting “democratic rhetoric” without implementing the principles of democracy, is futile. Claiming sovereignty, without living according to its tenets is sheer vanity.
The UANC celebrates our sovereignty as it promises prospects of dialogue. We believe in a constructive approach and a positive outlook. This will build the “Zimbabwe we want”. Talking confrontation, retaliation, and negativism, accompanied by narrow-mindedness, greed, and narcissism, will never yield the desired results for this nation.  For visionary leadership, with prospects of how to transform the “elephant” in the middle of the room”, is worth celebrating. The new approach is for the opposition party[ies] to get involved in national development programs to alleviate situations. We will build schools, clinics, and all sorts of infrastructural undertakings where there is a need because we are the alternative.
We celebrate the imminent opposition party/parties’ new approach that focuses on proactive and positive methods in political discourse.  It is providential that the President is open to good faith exchanges. Thus, the task before us calls for political maturity, wisdom, and self-discipline in dealing with issues relating to national unity despite our ideological diversity or even an absence of ideology. Diversity or dialogue does not have to be confrontational, punitive, or revengeful to be effective. After all the goal is a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe. Our common enemies are poverty, corruption, unemployment, and a troubled economy.
President Mnangagwa’s profoundly visionary statement: nyika ino wakwa ne vene vayo, would contribute immensely toward the President’s Legacy if only it is implemented. Let’s remember that Munumutapa’s legacy was built on what the king/Mambo did, not rhetoric. The President’s dictum can also be interpreted in a democratic catchphrase: “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. In a word: democracy.
Congratulations, fellow Zimbabweans.