By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare, August 08, 2016 – Historically, Manicaland is known as the transit point for liberation war fighters who crossed into Mozambique to receive training before they joined the battle front in Zimbabwe as the country’s liberation war intensified late 1970s.
As the country commemorates the National Heroes Day 36 years after, it has become clear that events in the eastern province have taken a new political course.
Discontent against Zanu PF has been growing as was witnessed by the loss of 23 out of 26 constituencies during the 2008 election.
It has further emerged the ruling party’s former stronghold has become a breeding ground for opposition movements most of whose leaders hail from the country’s eastern province.
Such can be said about the late Ndabaningi Sithole of Zanu Ndonga, Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn’s Simba Makoni, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Elton Mangoma, Lovemore Madhuku of NCA, among some opposition political leaders.
The discontent against Zanu PF continues to grow in Manicaland as political analysts said the rift between the province and government has been further widened by the misappropriation of resources.
Trevor Ruwande, who hails from the province, said liberation fighters fought for people to have equal access to resources yet diamonds and ethanol among other resources from Manicaland continues to benefit a selected few within Zanu PF.
Ruwande said it was a mockery for Zimbabwe to celebrate Heroes Day when the government has failed to come clean over the disappearance of the missing $15 billion.
“The liberation’s two main objectives were to gain political independence and equal access to resources. But if you look at what is happening today, especially in Manicaland, it’s heartbreaking. People in Marange do not have control over their resources. People in Chipinge are not benefitting from ethanol. This means that there are a few politically connected individuals who are benefitting at the expense of everyone,” said Ruwande.
“We are told $15 billion have been stolen in Chiadzwa and no inroads have been made to identify the perpetrators who stole resources that our war heroes fought for us to share equally. It’s clear that Zanu PF has failed to protect and add value to the resources war veterans fought for,” he added.
Claris Madhuku of Platform for Youth Development said Heroes Day will only have meaning in Manicaland when people of Chipinge start benefitting from the Chisumbanje ethanol project.
“We are supposed to take stoke of the benefits coming from the resources our people fought for every Heroes Day. Unfortunately, I and the people of Chipinge are yet to realise those fruits. Ethanol is produced right at our doorstep but what do we have to show for it, nothing,” said Madhuku.
This has been marked by a relatively small crowd that gathered to celebrate Heroes Day in the eastern border province.