The party was conspicuous by its absence as no single Member of Parliament, or known party official, turned up.
Only the MDC under deputy Prime Minister Aurthur Mutambara was represented by Kelvin Mashiri, the party’s provincial security officer.
Sources within the party said they were incensed by the resurgent violence in Bikita, which forced the constitutional outreach process to be suspended as legislators from the MDC-T protested.
“There are three issue here, first is the recent violence, second is the recent dubious appointment of President Mugabe’s sister, Sabina, as a heroine. The third reason is that the MDC-T is forced to play second fiddle at such functions. We are belittled and it seems as if we are not equal partners in the inclusive set-up,” said a top MDC-T official.
MDC-T provincial chairman, Wuilstuff Sitemere however denied that the party snubbed the event.
“It is a party position that we should have been there. I could not attend because I had other family commitments as there was a tombstone unveiling of my late wife.
“I am actually hearing it from you that no one from our side was present as we circulated information that it is politically correct to be there,” said Sitemere.
Asked about the snub, Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke said he was not worried about the MDC-T absence.
“We do not lose sleep over that. We are in an inclusive government and I thought they should have been here. As you saw, it was business as usual,” bragged Maluleke.
School children who were bussed and relatives of provincial hereos as well as the families of soldiers, prison service officials, and the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)-who are forced to attend the event annually-formed the greater majority of the crowd as the event marred by a low turn-out.