President Mugabe greets sungura artiste Alick Macheso after his performance at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare while Vice Presidents Joice Mujuru (right), John Nkomo (left) look on., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
‘Essential to record country’s military history’
There is need to record the country’s military history which is a national heritage for posterity, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said the route to the liberation struggle could not be left to memories, but should be accurately recorded and stored in the annals of national memory.
Minister Mnangagwa was speaking during the launch of the military history research project in Harare yesterday.
Research teams comprising of military personnel, historians and resear-chers will go around the provinces recording the country’s pre and post-independence military history.
The teams would start in Mashonaland Central and Matabeleland North.
Said Minister Mnangagwa: “That task (military history recording) must be undertaken as a matter of urgency as we are racing against time. People must know where this country came from and how we got our freedom through recording and storing those researches.”
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces civil military relations department is spearheading the project.
Minister Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s military history lies with cadres and the ordinary citizens who participated in the liberation struggle.
“To this end the role played by the masses who include the mujibhas and the chimbwidos cannot be emphasised,” he said.
“The process of capturing this vital historical information and events is a race against time as people who have this information in their memories are dying. With the passage of time, the memories naturally fade away or get distorted with age.”
Government, Minister Mnangagwa said, should have at least a team in each province to ensure quick completion of the project.
“This is aimed at not only reaching the very people who were involved in the liberation struggle, but the sites and special features that are still noticeable in the affected areas across the country,” he said. He urged local authorities to assist the research teams with the information they would require.
“To achieve this objective, there is a need to incorporate the local authorities who include chiefs, local headmen and the comrades who operated in the relevant areas,” he said.
“I am, therefore, calling upon the local authorities in the various provinces to give as much support and co-operation as possible to the research teams to enable them to collectively put together our history as a nation.”
The researchers were trained at the University of Zimbabwe.
He encouraged the researchers to use the skills acquired during the training to help record the country’s military history.
“Exercise a lot of patience and tirelessly record all the information brought forward. Remember that you may be the only people who can unearth some of the unknown pieces of the history of the struggle.”
ZDF commander General Constantine Chiwenga said the country’s history had been distorted hence the need to put the record straight.
“The sacrifices people have gone through should be vividly recorded. We have had a lot of distortions because we do not have records to rely on and I think through this initiative future generations will have something to talk about.”
Service chiefs, several permanent secretaries, historians and researchers attended the event.