Next Monday Zimbabwe celebrates 31 years of independence from British rule, amid a host of repressive and draconian laws which ironically have been used to curtail the same freedom which sons and daughters of Zimbabwe died for during the liberation struggle.
“The problem with independence celebrations is that over the years, they have been highly politicised and monopolised by Zanu (PF) to a point everyone now thinks the celebrations are a Zanu (PF) private function,” said Methuseli Moyo, ZAPU spokesperson. ZAPU’s armed wing, the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) waged the liberation struggle together with ZANLA.
“Independence day is a very important day in the calendar of our history which should not abused by political parties to gain political mileage. Everyone fought in a way or another for the liberation of this country,” he said.
Moyo pointed out that as long as Zanu (PF) continued to impose its agenda and dominate proceedings at national events such as independence celebrations it should not expect patriotic and progressive Zimbabweans to attend the celebrations.
“At individual and organisational level ZAPU supporters commemorates and respect Independence Day. Commemorating a national event does not mean force marching people to a venue and start to verbally abuse and bash your political competitors. ZAPU is worried about the language which is used at these national events,” he added.
Tabitha Khumalo, the MDC-T deputy national spokesperson, said although her party cherished and respected Independence Day commemorations, the problem was that they were always hijacked by Zanu (PF) for its own political agenda.
“There is world of difference between commemorating and celebrating an event. As MDC we have always commemorated Independence Day even before the formation of the inclusive government. We have serious problems however with the celebration functions where one party dominate proceedings. We are also worried about the hate language that is sometimes used at these functions,” said Khumalo
Khumalo’s concerns were also shared by Michel Krista, a Bulawayo based industrialist.
“ I cannot attend a function where I obviously know my colleagues are going to be verbally bashed .If politicians want us to attend national events such as independence celebrations, they should talk about the way forward rather than resort to tarnish the image of a certain community” said Krista.
Most white people interviewed here by Radio VOP requested anonymity. They said they were willing to participate in national events but indicated they were also worried about the hate language used at these occasions.
“I think it is very unfair for leaders to try to cover up their shortfalls by denouncing whites at political gatherings. Whites are also citizens of this country who should not be used as scapegoats for government’s failures “said one white man.
Whites and MDC officials have in the past received a vicious tongue lashing from President Robert Mugabe for allegedly boycotting national events.