8 March 2018

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Abandons Boycott of National Events

Photo: The Herald
Opposition politicians Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe (file photo).

MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa has announced his party's immediate abandonment of a lengthy boycott stance on national events citing President Emmerson Mnangagwa's recent moral and material support towards his predecessor Morgan Tsvangirai's funeral, among many overtures the President has made to old rivals.

Chamisa made the announcement during sitting in parliament Wednesday.

The Kuwadzana legislator said Tsvangirai's demise through colon cancer on Valentine's Day evoked a strong national sentiment across the political divide as seen by the two houses' official tribute to the late former Prime Minister.

He also thanked Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga for granting Tsvangirai a state assisted funeral and also dispatching cabinet minister Simon Khaya Moyo to receive his former boss's body at the airport on government's behalf.

"Mr Speaker our new trajectory will be that of uniting the nation... we may differ in how we view issues but we all belong to one country," Chamisa said while speaking in Shona.

"Going forward we will make sure we are not sensitive about which party each one of us belongs to. This could be during the Defence Forces Day or Independence Day; we now want the country to move forward without any partisanship."

For a long time, the MDC-T and fellow opposition parties have been boycotting national events, top among them the Independence Day, Heroes Day, National Defence Forces day celebrations.

Their gripe with former President Robert Mugabe's government was Zanu PF's alleged privatisation of national events that often saw the ruling party reduce the gatherings into Zanu PF rallies in both word and deed.

Mugabe was also accused of using the national events to rebuke opponents for alleged treachery while also linking them to systematic economic sabotage seen through alleged complicity in western imposed sanctions against the Zanu PF administration.

Because of that, the opposition vowed never to set foot at venues during commemorations.

But since Mugabe's November ouster which sparked wild celebrations across the nation leading to Mnangagwa taking over, relations between the old rivals have thawed.


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