Marking Freedom Day, Zuma said: “We are proud of the substantial progress we have made together since 1994. In comparison to many countries that have deteriorated after liberation, we have done exceptionally well, against all odds, in only 17 years,” Zuma said at the Union Building.
“We have established a solid, sound, stable, functional constitutional democracy.”
Zuma shared the stage with leaders of opposition parties, although there were media reports that these were heckled by ANC supporters.
Mugabe who has exclusively took to the podium over the last 31 years of independence to speechify against perceived western enemies and dice his political opponents.
Zuma however used his independence speech to unite his country and offer solutions to its problems while the Zanu PF government has consistently laid the blame for the country’s problems to others except itself.
In 1996 South Africa adopted one of the world’s best constitutions, now used as a benchmark on good governance. The constitution seeks to among other things heal the divisions of the past, establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.
However, 31 years after independence, Zimbabwe is still using the outdated Lancaster House Constitution which has so far been patched 19 times. The constitution is replete with laws that reflect a colonial country. President Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party have consistently used the law to stifle political opponents and maintain their iron-fist rule over the country’s affairs.
Efforts to draft a new constitution for the country have consistently been undone by scenes of violence and manipulation of text.
Meanwhile, the Welshman Ncube led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is pushing for a relaxation of bail conditions slapped on Co-Home Affairs Minister, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu to allow him to attend intra-party negotiations set for South Africa in a fortnight.
Mzila-Ndlovu last week missed intra-party negotiations that came up with an election roadmap.
He is set to miss negotiations scheduled for South Africa in a fortnight ahead of a full SADC summit in late May as he is not supposed to leave Zimbabwe before the finalization of his case.
The National Healing and Reconciliation Minister was slapped with stringent bail conditions following his release after five days in custody for statements he made during a Gukurahundi memorial service in Lupane.
Among some of the bail conditions, Mzila-Ndlovu’s passport was seized by the state, effectively grounding him in the country. He was ordered to reside in Bulawayo, a move that makes it impossible for him to attend intra-party negotiations.
Nhlanhla Dube, the MDC spokesperson when contacted for comment said his party will push for a “relaxation of the bail conditions so that Mzila-Ndlovu will attend the negotiations scheduled for South Africa.”
Mzila-Ndlovu told Radio VOP: “The bail conditions make it impossible for me to attend any of the party negotiations. I missed last week’s negotiations that came up with an election roadmap.
“We are supposed to go to South Africa for the next round of negotiations on the election roadmap but because of the bail conditions, I don’t think I will be able to attend them,” Mzila-Ndlovu noted.
The next round of negotiations before the full SADC summit in Namibia on 20 May 2011 will be in South Africa.
“As long as my passport is not released and my bail conditions are relaxed, I cannot travel outside Bulawayo attend any negotiations.”
During the first round of negotiations that came up with an election roadmap, Mzila Ndlovu’s MDC was forced to pick party vice president, Edwin Mushoriwa to represent him.
Zimbabwe’s political parties to the unity government last week reached consensus on an election roadmap but are still deadlocked over security sector reform and staffing in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).