Time to reclaim national symbols

One of the most tragic flaws of Zimbabwe’s opposition movement is that they have allowed Zanu PF to claim and solely own all national institutions and symbols right from the struggle for independence to the national anthem.

Source: Time to reclaim national symbols – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 22, 2016

With that Zanu PF are allowed to posture as the only truly Zimbabwean political party, who can protect independence and the country from neo-colonialism, when the opposite is true.

While Zanu PF has had a monopoly on all such institutions, the opposition has inexplicably tried to disassociate itself from occasions like Heroes Day or Independence Day, giving sway to the ruling party’s claims that they are foreign-funded and do not associate themselves with the country’s heritage.

It is, thus, heart-warming to see cleric, Evan Mawarire using the national flag as the symbol for his campaign and for the first time, Zanu PF is clueless on how to deal with someone who is opposing them but remains fiercely patriotic.

Because of Mawarire’s campaign, Zanu PF suddenly has no idea how to craft its message and bizarrely banned legislators from draping the flag in Parliament on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe should be the first country in the world, where displaying the flag is met with scorn and can lead to legislators being dragged out of Parliament as happened on Wednesday.

With the same logic, it is only a matter of time before the national anthem is also banned from Parliament, because it carries the same weight as the flag.

Now is the time legislators and activists appropriated all national symbols and use them in the campaign against Zanu PF and its narrow and simplistic definition of patriotism.

Zanu PF should not have a monopoly over the struggle for independence and nationalism and they should not be allowed to define the parameters of nationalism.

King Lobengula, Sekuru Kaguvi and Mbuya Nehanda all fought against white settlers, but they were never part of Zanu PF, yet they are the symbols of early resistance against colonialism.

Therefore, what is stopping the opposition from appropriating these symbols and campaigning fiercely on these platforms?

The late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo — although he later belonged to Zanu PF — is on record lambasting the party for its excesses in the 1980s and there is certainly no harm, but more mileage for the opposition if they could use the statements in showing how bad governance in this country is.

It is now time for recuperation by the opposition, where they should adopt symbols that seemed to represent their Achilles heel and use them as a weapon.

Opposition parties have long argued that Zanu PF has abandoned the ideals of the liberation struggle and nothing can illustrate this by evoking the spirits of Lobengula, Nehanda, Kaguvi, Nkomo and Josiah Tongogara, among others.

If Wednesday’s ejection of legislators from the National Assembly is anything to go by, then Zanu PF has no clue how to deal with people that appropriate such symbols and that is their major weakness.