11 August 2013

Zimbabwe: MDC-T to Boycott Heroes' Celebrations

THE MDC-T has said it will not participate at tomorrow's national heroes' celebrations in protest of the July 31 election "stolen" by President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, who has ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980, beat MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is claiming that the election was rigged in favour of the 89-year-leader.

Thousands of people, mainly Zanu PF supporters who will be celebrating Mugabe's election victory, are expected to throng the National Heroes Acre in Harare to commemorate the lives of heroes that sacrificed their lives for the liberation of this country.

MDC-T party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that his party would boycott the national event.

"The nation is mourning and we have nothing to celebrate though we honour the fallen heroes," said Mwonzora. "However, we will do it in our own way."

The MDC-T participated in national heroes events in the past four years it had been part of the coalition government.

Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD), which formed an alliance with MDC-T in the elections, confirmed their participation in the celebrations.

MKD spokesperson, Evans Sagomba said: "Our leaders will be present because the heroes' celebrations are a national event hence our leaders will effectively participate in the celebrations."

MDC spokesperson, Nhlanhla Dube chose to be diplomatic.

"Does this mean we have to travel to the moon to celebrate it because for us we will celebrate it whether we are at home or whatever place we might be," he said.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA) former secretary for projects, Andrew Ndlovu said while the country celebrated Heroes' Day, it was important to reward the surviving former fighters who were struggling to survive.

Ndlovu accused the government of reneging on promises it allegedly made to the former freedom fighters.

"They promised the war veterans a 20% stake in every sector of the economy in 1997 when we met Mugabe at State House," said Ndlovu. "There is no recognition yet they speak positively of us and even show television images of the exhumations of the remains of war veterans but there is nothing for those of us who are still alive."

Ndlovu said he was part of the late Chenjerai Hunzvi-led ZNLWA executive, which forced Mugabe to doll out Z$50 000 to each war veteran in 1997.

The unplanned for pay-outs resulted in the economy taking a nosedive.

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