TODAY, we join the nation in celebrating the men, women and children who laid down their lives fighting successive settler regimes from the day the Pioneer Column hoisted the Union Jack at Harare Kopje on September 12, 1890.
These brave patriots were prepared to die on their feet than live on their knees, a creed we should all live by.
They taught us patriotism and responsible citizenship, lessons we should hold dear especially as some among us now wilfully betray their labours and sacrifices.
Just a few days ago we had harmonised elections but it could have been lost to some among us that the right to vote had to be won through the barrel of a gun amid stern opposition from nations that purport to lecture us on electoral democracy today.
The vote was won so that we could have the right to choose who presides over the affairs of our nation.
The heroes and heroines we honour today did not sacrifice their lives so that we could subordinate ourselves to Western powers from whence the settlers we fought and deposed originated in the first place, they fought so that we could exist as an independent, self-governing entity in the community of nations.
So to those who retraced the slave trade routes to grovel for the continuation of sanctions in the United States; this is your day of introspection.
If the proud commanders of the struggle were to wake up today, would they identify with your cause? Would you be part of the parade they would proudly inspect? Or would you be found among the foes they would battle?
We are under no illusion as to your place which is why we say shame on you! Shame on you for betraying the blood of the thousands of patriots we venerate today. How different are you from the Rhodesian troops who raided Chimoio, Nyadzonia, Tembwe, Freedom Camp to gun down defenceless men, women and children given that sanctions are a form of warfare?
If today you abuse the vote by mistaking it for a zero-sum exercise, again we say shame on you for betraying the memory and selfless sacrifices of our patriots.
We challenge you to walk the talk of your slogan. Change your ways and walk in step with the rest of the nation to a great future for our country.
It is because of your mischief that we celebrate Heroes’ Day at a time your allies have signed their amended illegal sanctions regime.
We salute the millions of Zimbabweans who have refused to be swayed by the sanctions-induced hardships.
The ongoing problems mirror, though they do not surpass, the travails the gallant freedom fighters went through and should motivate us not to flinch in the face of challenges.
We have a duty to ensure that our heroes and heroines did not die in vain. If by continuing with their vision, we invite the wrath of detractors; so be it. We should soldier on, the same way the heroes and heroines who fell at the battlefront urged fellow comrades on, even as they breathed their last.