Zimbabwe is superior to, and comes first before any political party or civic group.
The Oxford dictionary defines patriotism as devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty. But the word patriotism cannot be restricted and is very subjective in nature. Discussing the issue with several friends and acquaintances it seems that patriotism in Zimbabwe is erroneously equated with support or sympathising with the ruling party – (ZANU PF). One can be forgiven for this view considering that, firstly, the party has been in power for close to four decades and thus it has become difficult to distinguish between its apparatus and that of the state. Secondly, the party claims to stand for ‘patriotic policies’ such as the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act of 2007 among others. However, with all due respect, patriotism goes beyond party politics and cuts across all sectors of Zimbabwean society – sports, arts, and socio-economic activities.
The highest level of patriotism is loving Zimbabwe, its institutions, heritage, traditions, rich history, her environment as well as protecting and upholding its constitution with fundamental human rights enshrined therein. Patriotism is not only protecting Zimbabwe against external threats but also against internal violent, disruptive, unjustified protests and rowdy, as well as retrogressive behaviour. Patriotism should see us refraining from malpractices that erodes the fabric of our society such as early child marriages, corruption, child, and sexual abuse. Patriotism is when we don’t litter our environment, when we pay our taxes honestly, when we voluntarily abide by the laws of the land and when we promote local industries.
In relation to Zimbabwe and elsewhere, a true sense of patriotism is when the grassroots fully participate in the development and programmes of their country. It is when they feel that they own the development process, are put of it and are proud of it.
It is when they freely express their opinion without fear of repression. True patriotism is the defence of a country not only against external threats but also against a rapacious click of greedy and power hungry politicians like President Mugabe and his grossly incompetent, oligarchic, crony-capitalistic and kleptocratic regime.
True patriotism is when women, youth, men and the elderly unite to demand accountability from their leaders and reject the imposition of a 93 year old President to run their affairs. It is the standing up for a people’s rights and what is right for the country despite one’s political, religious, and regional affiliation.
Many Zimbabweans love their country. However, there is a difference between loving one’s country and being patriotic. You cannot love your country without being devoted to it. Love is not enough, rather to be a patriot one needs love and devotion. That will then give passion which inspires one to serve. The national pledge says “united in our diversity”. It acknowledges that we are different but still have to be united. The common desire is to prosper, have good sanitation and achieve all the good things that we admire in other countries.
Hopewell and his Geneva Human Right speech
When the journalist Hopewell Chino’no spoke about the debilitating health care system , the lack of proper maternity care, corruption and looting which have been vastly reported in both independent and government aligned media. Both Ruling party members and opposition members have spoke about these issues , he was accused of being unpatriotic by some small but vocal group of people particularly on social media.
But who can say what he spoke about or against wasn’t true ? The idea that failing systems are beyond criticism is what got us to this point , being aptritic means correcting the course and recalibrating when we go wrong
April 18 is a holiday which marks independence from the British on this day in 1980 and is the National Day for Zimbabwe. To most of us, this day just passes like a fog and it means nothing anymore the present challenges of looting corruption , poor infrastructure , lack of job opportunities etc overwhelm our love for this country.