Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai has condemned the continued persecution of citizens along political party lines and said the development goes against the spirit of true independence and Heroes’ Day commemorations.
Tsvangirai made the remarks in his Heroes’ and Defence Forces’ Day message yesterday.
The country celebrates Heroes’ Day today — a day set aside to celebrate the lives of thousands of people who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country from colonialism.
Zimbabweans will commemorate Defence Forces Day tomorrow — to salute the security forces for their role in protecting the independence and territorial integrity of the country.
“Today is a day of sober reflection and deep reflection and deep introspection on whether we have achieved true independence and freedom,” he said.
“If honourable MPs are assaulted in Parliament and if ordinary Zimbabweans are brutally assaulted or even killed for supporting a political party, we must think long and hard whether this can be the legacy of true national heroes.”
Tsvangirai paid tribute to people who sacrificed their lives in the Second Chimurenga to liberate the country as well as those who participated in the First Chimurenga, including spiritual icons such as Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi and Chaminuka.
The Premier said there were also millions of unsung heroes and heroines, among them ordinary villagers who played an important role in the attainment of independence, although they had not been compensated or recognised for their role.
“Fellow Zimbabweans, it was never the original intention of true revolutionaries to privatise this day and make it a party event,” he said.
“It is demeaning to the great sons and daughters of this land; indeed an affront to their national contribution, to give the impression that their sacrifice should be narrow and parochial possession of Zanu PF, the MDC, Zapu or Mavambo.”
He also said the selection of heroes and heroines should not be an exclusive preserve of any political party as this only serves to “bastardise a great national day”.
Tsvangirai’s party MDC-T, as well as the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, have of late been boycotting burials at the National Heroes’ Acre to protest Zanu PF’s unilateral declaration of heroes.
President Robert Mugabe has however made it clear the National Heroes’ Acre was a preserve for people who had not only fought the war, but those who had consistently been in Zanu PF.