LET me start by congratulating our fellow veterans of the liberation struggle for recently holding a very successful inaugural elective conference.
The new fourth wing of the revolutionary ZANU PF Party (War Veterans League) now has a leadership and we are confident they will lead by example in diligently serving the Party and the nation at large.
Yes, the conference was a historic event that we shall forever commemorate.
Veterans mixed and mingled as they relived their various experiences during the liberation struggle.
Of course, some wept as they could not help it but come to terms with the fact that ‘pane vasipo’.
Indeed, we lost so many cadres during the war and many others have fallen in post-independence Zimbabwe – the latest being National Hero Brigadier-General Charles Kaneta who collapsed at his rural home in Nyanga.
His Chimurenga name was Cde Santana Tongai. May his soul rest in power and peace!
But back to the recent indaba.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a decorated cadre in his own right, acknowledged that war veterans remain the bedrock of ZANU PF and Zimbabwe.
He is correct because, as we have aways mentioned the Party owes its existence to veterans who decided to take white supremacists head-on.
Blacks had been reduced to third-class citizens in their own motherland.
Zimbabweans had been forcibly removed from their fertile lands and relegated to dry and arid lands. Many were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands by the same whites who regarded themselves as the ‘finest flower of civilisation’.
That is what they had been taught by their master Cecil John Rhodes.
Black people were being oppressed in their own country and it had to take brave women and men to confront the whiteman.
Fighting John Bull had its own consequences but these cadres were not deterred.
They fought the whiteman and eventually dislodged white colonial rule from Zimbabwe. This was not a victory for war veterans alone, but a victory for Zimbabwe.
That victory led to the Union Jack being lowered and our very own Zimbabwean flag being hoisted on April 18 1980, marking a new era for an independent Zimbabwe.
And President Mnangagwa emphasised the need to safeguard the country for which too many people sacrificed their lives.
He said veterans’ torrid times during the liberation war must fortify their resolve to continue safeguarding the country from Western machinations.
In this regard, it is worth quoting President Mnangagwa’s address at length:
“Our harsh experiences in the liberation struggle should serve as a constant reminder that none but ourselves, the people of Zimbabwe, can realise the future we all want, not just for us but also for future generations.
As veterans, we may once again pledge that our blood and sweat shall be found under the flag of Zimbabwe.
Neo-colonial detractors still hover over our sovereign and independent nation, panting for our rich natural resources.
Their tactics may seemingly be less brutal. However, as the generation that confronted them with guns and bullets, we are well aware of their devious schemes. Let us continue to resist and fight their deleterious machinations.”
The evil colonial system, said President Mnangagwa, never crushed our resolve to be an independent people.