In a statement on the commemoration of the Heroes Day and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo saluted the thousands of Zimbabweans that perished while fighting for the country’s independence, but said the current heroes were those fighting for economic freedom and prosperity.
Moyo said the bid for freedom in Zimbabwe was no longer against colonial rule, but the fight for other liberties such as economic freedom, human rights and the right to demonstrate, assemble and freedom of speech.
“We also salute our living heroes and heroines who are working tirelessly to bring political and economic freedom and prosperity. These are our current heroes who are in the trenches to make sure that what our yesteryear heroes fought for becomes a reality,” Moyo said.
“These include the right to freedom of speech and movement that has been curtailed by the current government. We note with sadness that the citizenry only gained political independence. All other freedoms and liberties such as economic freedom, the right to assemble and associate remain a mirage.
“The majority of citizens are still under the shackles of socioeconomic oppression and basic freedoms and rights are not being enjoyed,” he said.
The ZCTU said workers in Zimbabwe had faced hardships over the years, and that the standard of living for ordinary Zimbabweans had degenerated over the past 40 years.
The majority of Zimbabwean workers who are earning salaries in Zimbabwe dollars are living in poverty.
“It is a shame and indeed serious indictment on our leadership that people are looking back with nostalgia and fondness of the yesteryear of Ian Smith’s better economic conditions despite Smith’s oppressive and evil regime,” Moyo said.
“Some of our yesteryear heroes and heroines have turned against the people and have embraced and mastered the vices they fought against during the liberation struggle. Abductions, arrests, corruption, violence, thuggery, deprivation, segregation, inequalities, and repression are the order of the day. The so-called liberators have become masters and experts of repression.”
The workers’ body said it was sad that the security forces were being used in brutal oppression of the masses that they were supposed to protect.
“We have seen civilians being shot at point-blank range by members of the security forces for demonstrating against the government. We have also had people being abducted and tortured by people who are alleged to be members of the security forces.