HARARE – It is now six years since the historic event on March 11, 2007 when police violently broke a peaceful prayer meeting at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield that sadly led to the death of an MDC youth member, Gift Tandare.
On this day in 2007, heavily armed riot police disrupted a peaceful prayer meeting that was organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.
Thousands of people who were on their way to the grounds were turned away.
Tandare, an MDC Youth Assembly activist was reportedly shot in cold blood by the police and instantly died.
The MDC leadership including then opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and other civic society members were severely assaulted inside Machipisa Police Station.
March 11 will remain a black day but one which has to be celebrated and remembered by all pro-democracy forces because it greatly altered Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
The incident of March 11, 2007 showcased to the world the brutality of the Zanu PF regime and as a result, an African Union extra-ordinary summit on Zimbabwe was held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
This summit resulted in the brokering of the first series of serious negotiations to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.
The day will always remain in the hearts and minds of all the innocent people who have been subjected to brutality and utter disregard for basic human rights.
It is the day that changed the lives of Zimbabweans and led to talks that culminated in the consummation of the inclusive government that has brought relative stability to this tormented country.
May Tandare’s soul and the souls of thousands others whose sacred blood has been spilled in the struggle for democracy, rest in peace.
As they say, the freedom tree is watered by the blood of the saints.
As we reflect six years on, let us all soldier on until Zimbabwe is free again.
All Zimbabweans should join hands and celebrate the importance of this day.
We are however, worried that as we celebrate this day, there is an increase in political violence.
We are still mourning the needless loss of 12-year-old Headlands boy Christpower Maisiri, who police claim died in a fertiliser and chemical inferno.
We condemn such acts as they derail the spirit of non-violence that our political leadership is preaching at every gathering.
We implore all the leaders to walk the talk on violence.
We must all agree that never again shall we witness another March 11, 2007 scenario in Zimbabwe, when authorities turned their water cannons and guns on unarmed civilians. – Staff Writer