By Zvamaida Murwira
Zimbabweans need to be patriotic and be proud of their nation as the greatest legacy that they can leave behind as the country celebrates its 37th independence anniversary, Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa has said.
In wide-ranging interview on Thursday, which was aired by ZVBCTV last night, Vice President Mnangagwa said the peaceful environment in the country was the bedrock of development and urged everyone to maintain it.
“The legacy, I think we should give to our people is that of patriotism, let the younger generation, you guys, be patriotic to your country, never dream wanting to become a Russian, Chinese, or American, wake up in that dream if that happens,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“Be proud to be a Zimbabwean, poor or rich, you never chose to be born here. You were born here because that was your destiny, that was the decision by God that you be a Zimbabwean. Why would you say God was not wise to make you a Zimbabwean, be proud, this is your country. The trees, rivers, snakes and lions which kill people, the crocodiles are ours. So this is in my view, the heritage we must leave behind, the heritage as young people you must embrace.”
He said Zimbabwe cherishes freedom of expression as a cornerstone of democracy brought about by the armed struggle that culminated into independence.
“We have a democracy in our country where anybody can say what they want and go to sleep without fear of being arrested. It’s a democracy which we have and I think we must continue to entrench that democracy where people are free to say their views and opinions. But of course if you want to be mutinous then you know the law is there to deal with you. There is no single person, or group of persons or class of persons who say they are the most wise,” said VP Mnangagwa.
He paid tribute to liberation fighters who waged struggle against Ian Smith regime that saw Zimbabwe attaining independence in 1980.
“I say to our people, yes, the journey was long, the suffering was intense, in my view, we should pay respect to that generation, our generation of young people, boys and girls who sacrificed, who died for us today to be where we are. We are now enjoying the fruits of independence to walk with our heads high as independent, sovereign proud Zimbabweans, wherever we go we are proud to be our own people, chatting our own destiny,” he said.
VP Mnangagwa said with a lot of achievements in agriculture, health, education, the suffering that people were subjected to was worthwhile.
“One primary objective of independence was to have our people reunite with their land and the land reuniting with its owners. That was achieved after 10 years of observing the provision of the Lancaster House Constitution when we then introduced the Land Acquisition Act to acquire our land. So the Land Reform Programme stands very high on the issue of our independence.
“We feel that especially, as Zanu-PF, we have accomplished the primary grievance of our people by giving land back to our people,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“Yes, the land is not the end objective, we needed all our people to have access to education and health, primary care.”
He chronicled other achievements in other sectors of the economy like mining, tobacco production and irrigation development.
He said while production went down at the advent of the land reform programme, it has since revived with the cake spread over to many people instead of concentrating on few whites as was the case with the Smith regime.
“But in the past it was in the hands of a few people, perhaps a thousand or so farmers but now we have over 40 000 to 60 000 farmers participating which means the cake has spread to ordinary household, peasant farmers who grows five hactures, 10 ha and 20 ha of tobacco and has income coming to the family,” he said.
On why no Zanu-PF official had written a book chronicling the liberation struggle for future generation, VP Mnangagwa said it was the duty of today’s generation and not the older one.
He said the party had at one time tasked the late national hero Cde Nathan Shamuyarira but he died before he completed the work.
“To give that burden to us who participated in the struggle is not fair. You cannot say because you went to the war, write about it, it is you (younger generation) who want to know about the war,”
He said the older generation should take the blame if the younger generation failed to appreciate the virtues and values of independence.