Inclusive Parties Divided Over Independence

“But despite the provocation around the theme, we will be attending tomorrow’s event because we believe it is a national day, Prime Minister Tsvangirai told journalists at his party headquarters on Tuesday.

“We refuse to be chucked out of a national day which has nothing to do with Zanu (PF) but has everything to do with the collective history of all Zimbabweans in their diversity. So we will be there to pay tribute to the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who sacrificed everything to free this country.”

“We rejected it because we find this a repugnant theme which sounds more of a slogan for a political party than an inclusive, peace- building theme which should be determined through consensus,” Tsvangirai said.

“There was no consensus on the current theme. While we support broad-based empowerment of the ordinary person, our colleagues have taken indigenisation to mean expropriation and nationalisation. There is no such policy of government. Our problem is not about the day, but the theme of this day.

“A more unifying theme which captures the national sentiment at this time would have been more appropriate. As Principals, we led the national call for peace in November last year and it would have been ideal to have a theme that revolves around this key issue ahead of the next election.”

Tsvangirai accused President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) of betraying the aspirations of thousands of liberation fighters who died in the war of liberation adding that the former ruling party has “monopolized and personalised” independence.

“This is a national day that is greater than Zanu (PF)…or any other political formation,” Tsvangirai said. “Independence day is a day greater than Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe, Welshman Ncube, Arthur Mutambara or Simba Makoni.

“Our personal caprices and the political parties we lead must subordinate themselves to the iridescent nature and character of this day.

“To adorn Independence Day in a Zanu (PF) robe is to rob it of its national character and its universal appeal to the diverse people of Zimbabwe who are all too aware of its mammoth significance to the story of this land.”

Zimbabwe will be celebrating 32 years of gaining freedom from the British in 1980.