The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Revolutionary Icons' Families Mustn't Be Forgotten

editorial

MANY post-colonial societies are plagued by the scourge of neo-colonialism that is predicated on an attempt to re-write the history of the struggle against colonialism to give askaris a foothold into the politics of the post-colonial state.

Zimbabwe is no exception as today ex-Rhodies, their running hounds and askaris try to besmirch the contribution made by the gallant sons and daughters of the soil in dismantling the structures of the racist colonial regime.

Today some who fought on the side of Smith masquerade as defenders and apostles of democracy, some lily-livered characters who fled the struggle claim they have found the courage to die for Zimbabweans, albeit in the absence of any threat to their life or limb.

It is against this backdrop that President Mugabe and Retired Lieutenant Colonel Angeline Tongogara should be lauded for launching the Josiah Magama Tongogara Legacy Foundation at KGVI on Wednesday.

It is such endeavours that keep our collective national memory alive to inspire present ande future generations.

Launching the foundation, President Mugabe said the land reform and indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes have fulfilled the wishes of fallen national heroes such as Cde Tongogara.

The President said this in a speech read on his behalf by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The launch coincided with the commemoration of the death of former Zanla Chief of Defence and member of Dare reChimurenga who died on December 26, 1979 in a horrific car accident in Mozambique.

The land reform programme started in earnest in 1999 empowering Zimbabweans.

At policy level it was made clear that the veterans of the war would at least get 20 percent of the land.

This was a noble cause to recognise the contributions made by these selfless men and women who left everything to liberate the country from shackles of colonialists.

As the country celebrates the legacy and the life of the late hero Cde Tongogara, leaders should be reminded to revisit the empowerment programmes with a view to adopt a holistic approach that ensures that everyone benefits.

We need to ensure that veterans of the struggle, widows of fallen comrades and children who have not benefited from some of the empowerment programmes Government has implemented so far do so.

We urge authorities to adopt a deliberate policy of affirmative action to cater for these people.

Said the President: "Above all, with the land that has since come back into the hands of its true, rightful owners and this after so long a painful wait, I am sure Josiah today celebrates with us the resolution of this age old grievance, celebrates with us the settlement finally of this grievance of all grievances for our people. But again, he wants us to fend for those who have got the land so they prosper sustainably."

It is intriguing that the President picked land as a key resource and it is our hope that the comrades will be empowered hence fulfilling the major tenets of the struggle.

Zimbabwe's resources belong to its people and the President should be commended for saying the country should dare not trash Cde Tongogara and other comrades' dreams.

Zimbabweans owe a lot to families of departed comrades and those who are still surviving.

It is our hope that future policies be designed with this group of people in mind.

It is also commendable that the Head of State and Government acknowledged this and said: "Truthfully, Government programmes meant to fend for widows and children of our departed heroes, meant to give our surviving veterans substantial wherewithal, have not gone far enough, have not met some of their basic needs."

Cde Tongogara's widow Angeline should be lauded for launching the foundation in memory of her husband.

It is commendable that the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe proposed that KGVI be renamed after Cde Tongogara.

This is quite commendable, we propose that Government should go further and rename all those other institutions that still bear colonial names.

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