• 18 Apr, 2024
  • UZA Information and Media

UZA Statement on 2024 National Independence Day

UZA Independence Day Statement 2024

April 18, 1980 signified the birth of Zimbabwe and its independence from colonial rule and oppression. Today we commemorate Zimbabwe's independence and honour those who sacrificed, fought and died for our independence. This day marked a new beginning and an opportunity to build a nation, free from colonialism and all forms of abuse and domination over our land and people. The men and women who fought in the war to liberate Zimbabwe aimed to establish a democratic country in which all Zimbabweans would be equal, free and would live in a just society. 


It is fair to say that there were many early successes soon after Zimbabwe’s independence. For a time, we experienced steady economic growth and real optimism that Zimbabwe was on the right track and would become a prosperous and peaceful nation. Zimbabwe began to integrate as part of the global community and became a respected voice in Africa and around the world. Many young people took advantage of the new opportunities made available to them economically and politically. Education and healthcare were prioritised, and indeed the people of Zimbabwe benefited greatly. Women gained the right to vote and are now able to participate in politics and in business. The first years of Zimbabwe's  independence were promising and provided all the makings of a nation destined to be great.


However, as we commemorate the independence of our nation, we take stock and reflect on our progress as a nation. Are the people of Zimbabwe enjoying the independence and freedoms for which so many fought and died? While we appear to have had a promising start, there was, at the same time - the unimaginable taking place in Zimbabwe. The Gukurahundi massacre was the first sign of trouble. Many lives were lost and so many families were affected. This dark time had the markings of political, economic and tribal motivations and the massacres have haunted our country for decades.

At the same time, when all Zimbabweans would have hoped for peace and prosperity, some Zimbabweans were already being denied the rights that should have come with independence. The promise of our nation’s Independence was freedom, justice and human dignity, but this never was a reality for many Zimbabweans. Misrule and corruption took root and systematically grew into the massive general deprivation and abuse of Zimbabweans that today is so widespread. Although Zimbabwe is independent today, our people are not free. Those who express their rights are targeted and at times are subjected to the same mistreatment of the Rhodesian colonial era or worse. Political opponents are killed, unjustly arrested and/or intimidated - and many citizens have suffered abuse, abductions and death at the hand of a government that perceives them as enemies. Surely this was not what was envisaged at the time of our nation’s Independence.


As corruption manifested unabated in government and within key institutions, the misappropriation of Zimbabwe’s State funding began to creep into the picture. Natural resources, which could uplift the general populace, benefitted only a few political elites. Our country, rather than prospering from its natural resources, instead is now known to be a cesspool for looters and thieves whose actions are unrestrained and brash. Those with power loot unashamedly and are at the core of what is destroying Zimbabwe’s once promising economy. As a result, Zimbabweans are plagued by unemployment, poor healthcare, lack of social services and general despair - with over 60% of people living on one meal a day and many turning to drugs and alcohol for relief.


Politically, since independence, there does not appear to be much difference between the current government and our former colonisers. With Zanu-PF in power, the government has consistently worked to undermine the Constitution and democratic processes of Zimbabwe. Journalists and human rights activists have reportedly been subjected to persecution, including torture, imprisonment and murder. Elections are manipulated and the will of the people ignored. There is no free, equal and just society.


It is difficult to celebrate our country’s Independence Day with the current circumstances in Zimbabwe. Yet, we must remember and honour the people who sacrificed and fought for our freedom and Independence. We must remember what it is they died for and that on 18 April 1980, our country was birthed, and we acquired the means to determine a new destiny for our nation. We must continue to honour our heroes - the men and women who paved the way for Zimbabwe's liberation. 


Citizens, therefore, must not condone the misdirection that our country has taken, and should, on 18 April, take time to reflect on the urgent need for government accountability. Independence for Zimbabwe must be granted for every Zimbabwean. Greater freedom, prosperity and a just society, in which all citizens have equal opportunities, and a good life can become a reality for our people. As UZA, we call upon the citizens of Zimbabwe to complete the task that our liberators started; to take back Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans - and with unity, build a nation that is truly free - and where all can prosper.

For more info, visit the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) website, unitedzimbabwe.org

or email : info@unitedzimbabwe.org