In an interview with Newsday’s Blessed Mhlanga, MDC president Nelson Chamisa said that Zimbabweans are still far away from enjoying the benefits of independence, 39 years down the line.
Responding to a question on what achievements and milestones Zimbabweans have travelled over the past 39 years years, Chamisa said:
We are turning 40 next year, it’s time to take stock of the benefits of the liberation struggle to say: how far have we come in fulfilling the gains of the liberation struggle. The liberation struggle was about the will of the people, one-man, one-vote, it was about sovereignty, land.
How far have we gone in addressing those fundamental questions? We continue to have disputed elections. In 2018, the elections were disputed on account of deprivation of the will of the people; that shows you and that confirms that we have achieved nothing in terms of the ethos of the liberation struggle.
On the land issue, we have not genuinely empowered our people and you see now there continues to be problems around fundamental issues of title. The land issue continues to be a hanging question. The third issue has to do with prosperity and opportunities for the people of Zimbabwe.
We are the saddest people in the world, we score least on the index of happy people in the world, because of government’s illegitimacy, governance deficit, because of the absence of comprehensive reforms, institutionally, constitutionally, economically and politically these fundamental reforms are lacking.
If you look at our laws we continue to have trails of repression from the Rhodesian times. Look at how people continue to have a police force which is questionable, typical of the Selous Scouts.
We still have deep-seated divisions, you can’t have independence when we have divisions around tribes, when you have unhealed wounds around past challenges, around Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, erosion of pensions; all those things are wounds on the hearts and minds of people of Zimbabwe.
Independence must mean something, Independence can’t be paper independence, it can’t be rhetoric. It has to be independence in the means of production, independence in the economy, in the ownership of the means of production; those issues have not been addressed.
Zimbabwe celebrates Independence Day on April 18 every year. However, over the past two decades, since the formation of the opposition political party MDC, there have been divided opinion over the Day’s relevance.