OPPOSITION political parties and ordinary citizens, among them white Zimbabweans, say they will not be part of this year’s Independence Day celebrations which, they say insist, have been turned into a Zanu PF event by government.
The nation on Tuesday celebrates 37 years of independence from British rule.
But those interviewed by NewZimbabwe.com in Bulawayo said independence remained a mere event in a country that has failed to break from its abusive colonial past.
They are quick to cite an environment in which the post-independence black government has merely dusted up and used the same repressive laws used by the country erstwhile rulers to oppress blacks.
ZAPU spokesperson Iphitule Maphosa said the day has been politicised and turned a Zanu PF private function.
Maphosa said the Zanu PF led government has ignored the liberation war contributions of other forces, top among them ZIPRA, which was Zapu’s military wing which fought alongside ZANLA, the ruling party’s military wing.
“Commemorating a national event does not mean force marching people to a venue and start to verbally abuse and bash your political competitors.
“ZAPU is worried about the language which is used at these national events,” Maphosa said, adding that his party faithful does commemorate independence outside Zanu PF’s partisan events.
MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo also said the main opposition cherished the country’s independence but loathed Zanu PF’s decision to hijack the celebrations.
“There is a world of difference between commemorating and celebrating an event,” said the Bulawayo East MP. As MDC, we have always commemorated Independence Day.
“We have serious problems however with the celebration functions where one party dominates proceedings. We are also worried about the hate language used at these functions.”
Mthwakazi Republic Party information secretary Mbonisi Gumbo went further to say Matebeleland as a region was yet to test the fruits of independence.
“It’s obvious we do not recognise Zimbabwe’s independence because Mthwakazi (Matebeleland) is not yet free,” he said.
“We are yet to attain our own independence. We only remember 18 April, 1980, as the day the white colonialists transferred their rule over Mthwakazi state by conquest to a black colonialist Mugabe and his party.”
PDP Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said the independence spirit has been deflated by massive joblessness under a black administration, coupled with the current cash crisis.
He said government should redirect resources meant for Independence Day celebrations towards civil servants’ welfare.
David Scott, a Bulawayo based industrialist, said whites were kept away from the celebrations because they were being verbally abused by President Robert Mugabe.
The same sentiments were echoed by other white residents in the city who said they were being used as scapegoats for government’s failures.
Stephen Moyo, a city resident, also said independence was meaningless with the current government’s continued closure of democratic space.