PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Saturday launched a scathing attack on his opponents, telling them to “find their own hill for sell-outs” as they were not fit to be buried at the Heroes’ Acre.
Mugabe’s outburst came a few days after he was booed by opposition MDC-T legislators during his tepid State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Tuesday.
MDC-T legislators accused the 91- year-old of running down the country. The incident angered Zanu PF and was a major embarrassment for Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler.
Mugabe took the war back to his opponents at the burial of Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Andrew Mutema, saying that those who did not fight in the liberation struggle would never be recognised as heroes.
The burial was attended by what could be the smallest crowd ever to converge at the national shrine — estimated at less than 1 000 people, most of whom were soldiers and police.
Mugabe praised the late judge’s role in the liberation history before taking a dig at MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“History also has records of many of weak hearts and fragile minds who ran away during the outward journey to Mozambique and Zambia or deserted when the going got tough on the war front, or equally worse, sold out to the enemy,” he said.
“The likes of [opposition MDC-T leader Morgan] Tsvangirai were among those who bulked, they ran away; fell by the way-side.
“These are the people making vain attempts to be pseudo democratic leaders and liberators of this country.
“Shame on them! before they do what the likes of Mutema did, they can forget it, they never can be heroes of this country.”
The Zanu PF leader then told Tsvangirai and “his ilk” to find “your own shrine”.
“It is allowed. Find your own hill and bury your people there — the sell-outs; then we can identify that shrine as the burial ground for sell-outs,” he charged.
“We have them, some continue to sell out and beware of NGOs [non-governmental organisations] as well.”
MDC-T and other Zanu PF opponents have in the past questioned the criteria used to select national heroes.
Zanu PF has refused to accord national hero status to illustrious Zimbabweans who crossed Mugabe’s path even after playing a leading role in the liberation struggle.
The national Heroes’ Act gives Mugabe power to have the final say on who is or is not conferred with the prestigious status.
A tired-looking Mugabe walked with support from First Lady Grace on whom he seemed to be heavily leaning, taking intermittent breaks as he made his way to the high table amid tight security.
The combative Mugabe warned that Zimbabwe remained under threat from re-colonisation.
“Our erstwhile colonisers are fighting tooth and nail to maintain a stranglehold on our economy,” he said.
“Our enemies have also created puppet political parties in our country in the name of democracy, which they themselves fail to respect blinded by their avarice and greed over our vast natural resources.”
Mugabe often singles out MDCT as a puppet of the West, an accusation the party has repeatedly denied