By A Correspondent- Human rights groups and opposition political parties yesterday blamed the current economic meltdown in the country on Zanu-PF, adding the regime has failed the aspirations of its fallen heroes.
The country yesterday commemorated Heroes Day in honour of freedom fighters’ contribution towards Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said the country was still experiencing the same problems that the heroes fought against, which included a poor health system and gross human rights violations.
They said, while they appreciated the efforts by the fallen heroes and heroines, their sacrifice had been marred by continued corruption and looting of natural resources in the country while the masses reel in poverty.
“The forum acknowledges that the work of the heroes and heroines of the armed struggle will never be complete until all the people of Zimbabwe are truly free and their rights and freedoms are respected and protected.
“Regrettably, this day has lost meaning for the generality of the people owing to increasing insecurity for many vulnerable people due to the worsening economic situation, rising political tension and unending attacks by the State on vulnerable citizens,” the rights group said.
The Human Rights NGO Forum urged Zimbabweans to reflect on the long-forgotten ideals of the country’s heroes and heroines, including the respect of human rights and freedoms as stipulated in chapter 4 of the Constitution.
“The forum laments the cyclic human rights violations occurring at the hands of security forces who are the heirs of armed struggle. The Zimbabwe State has failed to capture human security ideals and transform itself in the service of human dignity.
“We call on the State to implement an inclusive human-centred approach to economic development that prioritises the welfare of the people. Regrettably, this day lost meaning for the generality of the people owing to the increasing insecurity for many vulnerable people due to the worsening economic situation, rising political tensions and the unending attack by the State on vulnerable citizens.”
Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) secretary-general Tapiwanashe Chiriga said: “We continue to demand freedom for Makomborero Haruziviishe and all political prisoners whose only crimes have been being heroes of our modern-day struggle. We salute the heroes of our time in these tumultuous times, the underappreciated frontline health workers who have risked their lives in fighting COVID-19 pandemic.”
The opposition MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube in a statement said: “We call upon the authorities to use this holiday as a platform to honour colonial war heroes, together with democratic heroes of post-independent Zimbabwe. We make special mention of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in bringing about our independence from institutionalised colonial oppression.”
He said heroes of post-independent Zimbabwe included the late former Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, activists Enna Chitsa, Isaac Matongo, Gertrude Mtombeni and Gibson Sibanda, among many others.
In a statement to commemorate Heroes’ Day, Zanu-PF said great strides had been made, including government’s efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Notwithstanding the challenges that the pandemic has brought to the world and Zimbabwe in particular, we are proud that our nation through the visionary leadership of our President Emmerson Mnangagwa is ranked as one of the leading countries on COVID-19 vaccination in Africa,” the ruling party said.