Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
MDC formations have come under fire for disregarding and boycotting yesterday’s national Heroes Day commemorations.
MDC-T leader who is the outgoing Prime Minister, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, outgoing speaker of the House of Assembly Mr Lovemore Moyo are some of the senior dignitaries who were expected to attend the national event yesterday but they were conspicuous by their absence.
Professor Welshman Ncube’s formation was not represented at the event as well.
Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Arthur Mutambara was the only opposition face who showed up to honour the departed cadres. He also took a swipe at MDC formations for failing to honour the gallant sons and daughters.
In an interview soon after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Professor Mutambara said national events like the Heroes’ Day were what defined a people and their values and it was important for every Zimbabwean to rise above political differences.
“When gallant sons and daughters of the soil took up arms to redeem Zimbabwe from the clutches of oppression, they had one priority, driven by a shared goal, to liberate every Zimbabwean from colonial bondage. It is therefore proper for everyone to show some respect for the departed and living heroes and heroines, regardless of one’s political affiliation,” Prof Mutambara said.
Observers say the boycott of the Heroes’ Day commemorations by the MDC formations was a clear demonstration that their interests were at variance with national aspirations.
The MDC defended their absence insisting it did not have any bearing or demean the heroes’ legacy. MDC spokesperson Mr Kurauwone Chihwayi yesterday said they did not boycott the national event.
“We value our national heroes. We value national events and we did not boycott. We had commitments elsewhere. We are not going to take any insults and venom,” he said.
He said as a party they felt that they should also be involved in the planning process of such events.
“They should be inclusive. Let’s involve everybody and we should be united on such events,” Mr Chihwayi said.
Efforts to get comment from MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora were fruitless as his mobile phone was not answered.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said the MDC-T was being naive as it did not understand the difference between State and political party occasions.
“We gathered that they said they cannot come because the President has not been sworn in and that Zanu-PF rigged the elections,” he said.
Cde Gumbo said the MDC-T was being ‘silly’ since all the observers who monitored the elections declared them free and fair.
“They are acting on the instructions of their sponsors and masters. They are not themselves. They don’t believe in the independence and sovereignty of the country,” he said.
He said President Mugabe could have been sworn in a long time ago and the MDC-T was using all sorts of delaying tactics by not wanting to accept the results and going through the court processes.
“It’s unacceptable and it’s silly, people should accept defeat because the whole of Africa, Sadc and Comesa, all said the people of Zimbabwe have done it. And who are they (the MDC-T and their sponsors) to say they have not done it,” he said.
National Assembly member-elect for Norton Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa described the MDC-T as foreign animals who had foreign ideologies.
He said the MDC-T had never identified themselves with pan African ideologies and the liberation movement.
He said when they got into the inclusive government, they were pretending and now that the people had rejected them through the just ended elections, they were now showing their true colours.
“It was a shotgun marriage or a marriage of convenience as a route to power and for these last four years they had nothing to do with it. It was like taking a horse to the river.”
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