Father Zimbabwe’s nation building dream betrayed


Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo

As Professor Sabelo Gathseni Ndlovu rightly puts it, Zimbabwe lacked a blueprint on nation building since the attainment of independence in 1980. The Gukurahundi massacres, which resulted in the death of an estimated 20 000 people in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s, dealt a huge blow to the concept of nationhood and marked the beginning of state sponsored violence against citizens. What followed after the Gukurahundi massacres was a series of state brutality against citizens and hundreds lost their lives. The late iconic Vice President of Zimbabwe, Dr. Joshua Nkomo was among the major proponents of nation building but because of authoritarian tendencies among some of his fellow politicians, his passionate calls fell on deaf ears. Below we republish one of his most famous speeches on peace and nation building delivered after Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980. "Now that Zimbabwe is free and independent, the priority is now nation building, social and eco progress. We cannot move forward if we are divided. We have to work as a nation together. Zimbabwe has people of various colours but they are one. They speak different languages but they are one. They have different backgrounds but they are one. Once we all understand that, once we give our best to our country Zimbabwe is a wonderful country. We have natural resources, we have human resources as are not known in many countries. We should come together and see that Zimbabwe progresses. The most important thing in that progress is to see that there is peace and tranquility, the observance of the rule of law, the return to our people that peace that they require for developing their country. To be able to do so, our law enforcing agents must be free. The army and the police must not be interfered with. They have powers given them by the constitution of the country. No government must try and interfere with those powers. It is not necessary therefore, to have the police answerable to political parties"


Events that unfolded after Zimbabwe attained Independence in 1980 show a betrayal of Father Zimbabwe’s dream.


The Gukurahundi massacres, party state conflation, capture of the judiciary, the police and the army by Zanu PF, militarization of key state institutions, corruption and plunder of national resources by the political elite have largely worked against nation building.


Due to the continued economic meltdown, Zimbabwe continues to suffer from brain drain as citizens seek greener pastures in other countries.


Zimbabweans need to pursue the unfinished business of nation building and fulfill the dreams of the late iconic leader, Joshua Nkomo.


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