Most Zimbabweans residing in Botswana are of the view that their Independence Day, April 19, is no longer worth celebrating because of what they term man-made crises in their country.
Tanonoka Joseph Whande, an exiled Zimbabwean journalist, says that what is supposed to be their happiest day is now only a sad remainder that the independence and freedom they are supposed to celebrate have long been destroyed by the same people who delivered independence to them in 1980.
“Just don’t remind me, please. Mugabe, his wife and some close cronies appear to be the only ones who are free in Zimbabwe; they can celebrate the illegal windfall,” said Whande. “Keep in mind they just stole elections and now people are in hiding or walk around in fear instead of coming out openly to celebrate. But celebrate what?”
Whande said that what they ought to be doing is to weep, not to celebrate, because their once lovely country has now been turned into an unsafe political orphanage both politically and practically.
“Zimbabwe is now full of people running away from themselves,” Whande said.
Another Zimbabwean, who says that his name is Gideon Made (quick to point out that he is not related to Joseph Made, Mugabe’s minister) said that he has not celebrated Independence for the last 10 years because of the difficulties in his country that he plainly blames on the current ruling party.
Gideon says that he had wished that elections would come and usher in a new set of rulers but now he has been disappointed after the ruling party refused to release election results which Zimbabweans are still anxiously waiting for.
As a result of this he said that his heart is bleeding instead of rejoicing.
“My heart is bleeding as I talk to you now. I am very disappointed at what has happened in my country and my prayers are that God will help us and things will one day settle and we will celebrate our Independence Day once more,” he said.
Made says that he currently earns a living by doing odd jobs around Gaborone whilst he is a qualified teacher.
“Have you ever seen a teacher working as a herdsman? My fellow teachers and former headmasters are working as herdsmen in this country as we talk.
This just shows the situation we are in and why we cannot celebrate,” he said.
Musafare Gwere, another Zimbabwean journalist in Botswana, also concurs that people in Zimbabwe have nothing to celebrate because celebration is all about being happy and merry and that people can not be happy when their month’s salary can not sustain a day’s meal, when health facilities are none existent.
He also said that there is no freedom of speech in their country and that people can not express themselves fully as they fear being arrested or tortured.
On the Independence celebration rally held by the country’s President Robert Mugabe, Gwere said that it had served nothing as it did not show that people were happy and celebrating and that the sad thing about it is that people who attended it were forced to attend as is the usual case in that country.
Kazingizi, yet another journalist, agrees with the other Zimbabweans and says that people in Zimbabwe are actually in mourning after their hopes of a new regime were dashed by Mugabe and his military.
“Maybe we will celebrate in the future. But at the moment there is nothing tangible to celebrate,” he said dismissively.