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Statement on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
April 16, 2013

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), calls upon all its members and every Zimbabwean to join the celebrations of Independence Day on 18 April. On 18 April 1980, after decades of colonial and white supremacy rule, we proved to ourselves and the world that Zimbabwe was now a democracy.

We must however always remember, as we celebrate our freedom, that it was not won without struggle and sacrifice. Thousands of members of the liberation movement were arrested, jailed, tortured, exiled or even sacrificed their lives to help free our nation from racist tyranny.

In particular we dip our flags in honour of two of our greatest leaders, Josiah Magama Tongogara and Hebert Chitepo, who both passed away on the eve of our independence and thus narrowly missed the chance to witness the democratic breakthrough that they did more than most to bring about.

While we have much to commemorate we also have a lot still to achieve before we can say that all Zimbabweans are really free. We cannot ignore the millions of Zimbabweans who live in poverty who cannot benefit from political freedom, as they face a daily struggle to survive.

Millions of our people cannot find work and the millions still living in squatter camps fully celebrate their 'freedom' as they struggle to find ways to earn a decent living and live in a proper house?

We also have to shrink the massive levels of inequality which have made Zimbabwe the most unequal society in the world. Such inequality mocks our struggle to build a free, fair and equitable society. Neither can we celebrate freedom when our society is scarred by such high levels of crime and corruption.

Gross inequalities in wealth distribution, health and education remain defined along political lines just similar to the time it was done along racial lines. The fault lines of the colonial economy remain largely intact.

In the main it is the children of the poor, the working class whose educational experience is marked by poor learning infrastructure, high tuition fees, classroom overcrowding, high dropout rates and unsafe schools. There are equally glaring discrepancies in the quality of health care, with a first-world service for the wealthy in government and the private sector and a third-world service for the poor in the public sector.

The highest levels of poverty and underdevelopment are also still concentrated in our townships and rural areas.

Also denied the full fruits of our freedom are the millions who suffer from HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases - many of them diseases caused by poverty. The millions who suffer from HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases, many of which are diseases of poverty, are also not truly free. Many of these diseases would have disappeared if people could afford quality food and had access to the medicines they need, including antiretrovirals for people living with HIV/AIDS. We urge all our members to get themselves tested.

33 years after a protracted war, the nation will finally adopt a new constitution, a constitution which the leaders of the land imposed on the people. The fruits of freedom cannot be enjoyed if you have no job, no money, no food on the table, nothing to pay your children's school fees or no proper health care for your family. This new constitution will never guarantee our freedom. It retains power on one person, a big legislature and it does not compel the state to allocate a specified minimum percentage of the nation’s revenue to deal with the needs of the poor.

The only way for the people of Zimbabwe, our families and our communities to win real and total freedom is for us to get organised in strong, fighting trade unions, a strong alliances and civil society formations and fight for a genuine people driven constitution and the realisation of the People's Charter.

We will forever remain indebted by the revolutionary and progressive step made by the 179 849 brave Zimbabweans who voted NO in the referendum, not only did they voted wisely, but it was in honour and in defence of our independence.

We must recruit and organise all in colleges, in factories, churches, and all sectors. We must drastically improve our own civic organisations, so that they recruit more `members as we prepare to fight bigger struggles ahead.

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