PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said the country’s fallen heroes, who for the past 37 years had been turning in their graves following the erosion of the liberation ethos, now had every reason to smile under the new political dispensation.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In a statement to mark the country’s 38th independence celebrations today, Mnangagwa said the nation was commemorating its second Uhuru following former President Robert Mugabe’s ouster last November.
“This year, we are also celebrating a second independence, as we enter a new period of openness and freedom,” he said.
“This new Zimbabwe is one the heroes of our Chimurenga, who we remember daily, would have been proud to have fought for, one where our people are free to speak their mind, vote their conscience and seek greater unity towards reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction.”
Opposition MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa, who rallied his supporters and party officials to attend today’s commemorations at the National Sports Stadium, said the young generation was ready to complete the fallen heroes’ unfinished business.
“We only wish to complete the unfinished business of that sacred struggle that we celebrate on this Independence Day. So great was the meaning of that expression that we feel a day is not enough for a nation’s full expression. That is why as a party we in the MDC-T have declared this April to be an independence month,” Chamisa said in his Independence Day message.
But Ambrose Mutinhiri, who leads the newly-formed National Patriotic Front, blasted Mnangagwa’s government, saying it had lost the essence of the liberation struggle.
“Our thoughts should be with those that were tortured, harassed and humiliated for trying to protect a constitutionally elected people’s government. We reflect, today, on the reversal of the gains we had made as a country in our attempts to fulfil the objectives of our liberation struggle,” he said.
“Today, our people, who had gotten land, the top national grievance that led thousands to take up arms against the racist Ian Smith regime, face the gloom reality of that land being returned to our erstwhile colonisers by ironically the people who staged a coup to ‘restore’ the ‘legacy’ of our founding fathers.”
The MDC led by Welshman Ncube said Zimbabwe remained in a worse position as the health and education sectors of the country continued to collapse 38 years after attaining
“Zimbabwe will be marking Independence without Robert Mugabe as President. However, Mugabeism is still very entrenched in our current government. A far worse Mugabe in the form of the Zanu PF-led junta administration is still ruling.”
Yesterday, government extended an open invitation to opposition parties to attend today’s Independence celebration at the National Sport’s Stadium.
In a statement, Local Government minister July Moyo said all political parties in Zimbabwe were free to attend the celebrations, but barred wearing of party regalia at the commemorations.