By Farai Sibanda
Bulawayo, August 22, 2013-Zimbabwean economists, business leaders,
pressure groups and individuals have expressed mixed feelings to the
declaration by government of President Robert Mugabe’s inauguration day
today as a public holiday with some saying it’s a “shame” while others
say it is necessary as the country moves into a new, exciting phase.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Constitutional Court
declared Mugabe the winner of July 31 presidential election vote by
about 61%,garnering a two-thirds majority in Parliament while
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T who received
34 percent rejected the poll outcome as a farce.
Said Tsvangirai: “Mugabe’s inauguration on Thursday is obviously the
usual Zanu PF charade of stage managed crowds who are frog marched
and railroaded to attend the sham function at the National Sports Stadium.”
“With Zanu PF frantically attempting to make the function a grand affair
and relive Mugabe’s 1980 victory celebration, the inauguration is nothing
but a non-event akin to the 2008 soloist run which is void of any legitimacy.”
Mbuso Fuzwayo Bulawayo-based human rights activist and
coordinator of pressure group Ibhetshu Likazulu said,
“It is a shame that a public holiday is declared to celebrate Mugabe’s
victory who has run down this country’s economy for the past 33 years.
People cannot be pushed to celebrate hunger and poverty under his
rule. No one will take them seriously, actually we encourage
Zimbabweans to ignore this event”
On Tuesday the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet,
Ray Ndhlukula said Mugabe inauguration will be held at the giant
National Sports Stadium on Thursday the August 22 2013 declared a
public holiday. Ndhlukula added that preparations for the inauguration
ceremony have been completed and international artists have been
invited to perform together with local artists.
On Wednesday a circular was sent to all government departments
notifying that Thursday is a public holiday and no one should be
report to work. Every government worker was ordered to attend the
inauguration and free buses will be available to transport them from
different areas to Harare’s National Sports Stadium.
“People should not worry about what one day being declared a public
Holiday will do to the economy, but about what five years of
unbridled Zanu PF rule will do if there is no genuine commitment to
continue on the Government of National Unity path of moderation,
reforms and effective re-engagement with the international community.
Zimbabwe cannot survive as an island on its own, a point one hopes will
be noted by Mugabe and Zanu PF so that they can reach out to all
stakeholders to continue to build the nation of Zimbabwe,” said Dewa
Mavhinga, Senior Researcher for Zimbabwe/ Southern Africa, Human
Economist John Robertson observed: “This has a big risk to the country’s
economy, when we have a public holiday suddenly declared without
warning and it will disrupt business operations and a lot revenue will be
lost. For example we had business meetings cancelled because of this
inauguration so there will be no efficiency in the country’s economy”.
According to ZBC TV main news some incumbent heads of state Jakaya Kikwete
of Tanzania and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea
and retired ones Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania
had already arrived while Festus Mogae and Quett Masire former presidents
of Botswana among others were all expected for Mugabe’s inauguration.
South Africa and Botswana will be represented by their vice presidents while the
Swazi Prime Minister Dlamini had also arrived representing King Mswati.
“This is a very important occasion to us as Zimbabweans. We stand to
benefit a lot from this occasion looking as a large number of heads of
states and other foreign dignitaries will attend this occasion. It
will show them that we are accepted in the nation of Africa and the
world at large, actually we will realise long term benefits,” said Zanu PF
losing parliamentary candidate for Mabvuku -Tafara, lawyer and businessman