facebook Share on Facebook FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru and ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday led their respective parties in a nationwide boycott of the country’s independence commemorations, accusing President Robert Mugabe of privatising the national event and betraying the goals of the liberation struggle.In separate statements, both Tsvangirai, who led the coalition government as Prime Minister between 2009 and 2013, and Mujuru, who served as Mugabe’s deputy between 2004 and 2014, said they would not be part of an event “mired by cheap sloganeering”.

Several other opposition party leaders also boycotted the event.

“I would have taken my family to join thousands others for the national celebrations to pay homage to this country’s heroism in bringing independence. But alas, this important national day has been hijacked, pick-pocketed by the ruling elite,” Tsvangirai said.

He added: “It is a big day now mired by cheap sloganeering in a move that excludes other political players from joining the rest of the nation in celebrating our sacred struggle against colonialism.”

Tsvangirai described Zimbabwe’s 37 years of independence as hollow due to the absence of the requisite freedoms.

“Today, we even kill others for freely exercising their right to vote for a political party of their choice; a right for which so many sons and daughters of this land paid the ultimate price,” the former Prime Minister said.

Mujuru, through her National People’s Party (NPP) spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, said she had joined her rural folk in Dotito, Mashonaland Central province, to reflect on the country’s independence.

“She is in Dotito as part of her programme to know the rural populace and to understand their wishes on the trajectory of governance,” Nyandoro said.

Mujuru called for a collective effort to stop Mugabe from creating a “Gushungo dynasty” following reports that the 93-year-old Zanu PF leader was planning to hand over the baton to his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe.

“Our people never went to war so that the destiny of our country could be turned into political dynasties. Zimbabweans deserve to be free and that freedom has to be exercised now. To that end as NPP we urge all the progressive forces within the rank and file of the opposition parties of this country to go back to the basics of the revolutionary ideals of oneness. It is our belief as NPP that what divides us as opposition political parties is smaller than what binds us as a country,” Mujuru said.

She added that the Zanu PF regime had turned the country’s 37 years of independence “into 37 years of slavery and misery”.


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