President Mnangagwa decries “Smith was better” narrative

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Harare (New Ziana) – The narrative that life under Ian Smith and the racist Rhodesian government was better than that in independent Zimbabwe is foolish and disheartening, as it makes a mockery of the sacrifices made by thousands of Zimbabweans who died to liberate the country from colonial bondage, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday.

Reeling from a lack of ideological direction or guiding policies, months after its “birth”, and in its desperation to get into power, the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (formerly the MDC-T) and its twitter activists have gone into overdrive to portray the Smith regime as better than the revolutionary Zanu PF government.

Yet the very foundations of Zimbabwe, which the CCC hopes to rule, are built on the brutal armed struggle which the black majority led by the revolutionary party waged against the Smith led minority white settlers, to correct the numerous grievances which they had, chief among them racial discrimination and the expropriation of their land.

“It is most disheartening to hear some of our misinformed and misguided young people peddling the grossly false narrative that life under Ian Smith was better than that under independence, foolish young people,” he said at the burial of national hero, Major-General (Rtd) Sydney Bhebhe.

“The onus is on the older generation to constantly explain to the youth of our country that Ian Smith and those present-day counter revolutionaries with similar inclinations personify the plunder and pillage of our motherland.”

President Mnangagwa added; “These groups of unrepentant supremacists seek to make Zimbabwe a country where Africans, our selves, are disenfranchised and turned into puppets for their elitist economic benefit. This will never happen, such colonial inspired capitalist domination under whatever guise will never be accepted in Zimbabwe under the revolutionary party, Zanu PF.

“Lest we forget the total independence, total freedom, democracy and sovereignty we are enjoying as Zimbabwe will never be sacrificed for any social, political or economic expediency. This is what the national hero we are laying to rest and other thousands of veterans of our liberation struggle fought for.”

He said the brutality of the Rhodesian government was well documented and gratitude should be paid to those who stood up to it.

“The racist excesses of the Rhodesian white settler regime were unbearable and fraught with constant threats of death. It took strong willed cadres in the mould of our national hero, Maj-Gen Sydney Bhebhe, to endure the arduous journey that finally brought about our independence and freedom. Us who remain, young and old alike, have a sacred responsibility to jealously guard and defend our motherland Zimbabwe, not only in honour of the departed sons and daughters of the soil, but also as a sacrosanct obligation to the generations that will come after us,” he said.

“The remains of some of our liberation war heroes continue to lie in unmarked graves across the region, such was the brutality of the colonial regime. We must never take the constitutionalism, democracy, independence and the right to chart our own destiny for granted. These rights were paid for by the sacred blood of our fellow brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and many comrades, many of whom never lived to see a free Zimbabwe.”

President Mnangagwa encouraged scholars to immortalise the life and works of the country’s war heroes through writings and documentaries so that their efforts before and after independence do not get lost with their deaths.

He said this was particularly important as the country kept losing its war heroes.

Maj-Gen Bhebhe became the third decorated liberation war fighter to die this month after Majors General Chanakira and Nyathi.

“As the nation continues to inter the cream of cadres that fought for our independence, it is imperative that our scholars and academics prioritise recording and publishing the life experiences of this crop of freedom fighters to enrich our written liberation war heritage for future generations. This history cannot be left to the authorship of those who wish to belittle our struggle and achievements. Efforts by various stakeholders including the Museum of African Liberation must be scaled up and accelerated towards documenting, archiving and exhibiting the true story of our liberation struggle.”

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