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Lessons from liberation struggle pay dividends

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A DEFINING feature of the liberation era was the determination never to lose sight of the goals of the struggle, despite the birth pangs which were an inclusive painful necessity. 

Nothing was ever handed to us on a silver platter. 

And to succeed, everything had to be carried out according to plan. 

A haphazard approach would have resulted in greater loss to human life and delay in achieving our goals. 

When we resorted to the armed struggle, there were many who quacked in their boots at the prospect of facing the white settlers who were well-armed. 

But the liberation movements, spearheaded by ZANU and ZAPU, apart from arming their cadres, also provided them with suitable training. 

Despite this, many people died, either in battle or were deliberately killed by the ruthless Rhodesian settlers. 

From the time the first shots were fired in Chinhoyi in 1966 to the time we got our independence on April 18 1980, thousands had perished. 

Central to the objectives of the liberation struggle was the desire to give both political and economic power to the majority. 

Political power alone, without control of our resources — land in particular — would be hollow. 

That’s why the outcry: ‘The land is ours,’ ‘Ivhu ngeredu’ or ‘ilizwe ngelethu,’ were popular by-words during the struggle. 

No wonder at the Lancaster House constitutional talks, the question of land was very emotive since the white settlers were unwilling to share the fertile land they had forcefully grabbed from the indigenes. 

When the British reneged on their promise to pay for the land, the response of the indigenes was decisive, unequivocal and immediate. 

The Land Reform Programme had to fail, the Americans and their Western allies were determined! 

ZDERA is a regimen of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe meant to cripple the economy, leading to the total collapse of any agricultural ventures. 

Just imagine the expected impact of such measures on people who had just acquired vast pieces of land without the necessary machinery. 

Here again was another situation very similar to the days during the liberation struggle. 

Again Zimbabweans did not lose focus. 

Despite the almost insurmountable hurdles, black farmers survived the birth pangs. 

True, at one time, as expected, harvests dwindled and we became a laughing stalk of the Western world. 

Twenty years on, Zimbabwe has bounced back to become an agricultural giant of the region. 

Indeed, from being an object of laughter, we have become the envy of the African continent. 

Detractors of the land reform have found themselves with egg on their faces. 

As we speak, Zimbabwe has already surpassed its agriculture target of US$8 billion and has reviewed it to US$13,75 billion by 2025. 

Records have also tumbled in maize and tobacco production. 

Today, Zimbabwe is the largest grower of tobacco in Africa and is ranked sixth in the world. 

Zimbabwe is now self-sufficient in wheat production and is among the top eight wheat producing countries in Africa. 

Zimbabwe is also among the world’s largest exporters of blueberry, with exports growing by 85 percent last year. 

What is fascinating about Zimbabwe’s achievements is that the vast majority of the farm produce is by the indigenes, who, after turning swords into plowshares, have emerged millionaires. 

Like agriculture, Zimbabwe’s mining earnings have also surpassed expectation. 

Indeed, as confirmed by the IMF, Zimbabwe’s economy is among the fastest growing in the region. 

The recent acknowledgment of the strategic importance of the Zimbabwe economy in the SADC region is something worth noting. 

With relentless effort in the establishment of enabling infrastructure, like roads, power and dams, it’s not long before Zimbabwe becomes an economic powerhouse of note. 

What with Vision 2030 which seeks to see our economy an upper-middle class one. 

Of course, the same forces that fought against us during the liberation struggle are the very forces still at play today. 

That is why we are seeing prices shooting up, including those of products like bread, sugar and mealie meal, among others, although they have been exempted from the new 15 percent VAT on most goods. 

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