By Ebenezzer Sibanda
LEGITIMACY issues surrounding President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration have marred national events like the Heroes Day commemorations, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has said.
Chamisa told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview Monday that while he had committed to attending State occasions before last year’s elections; he could not do so this year before the country’s political “issues are dealt with”.
“There are fundamental issues to do with legitimacy that must be dealt with. We must attend to the national political question first before we can begin to talk about convergence of minds on patriotism and heroism,” Chamisa said.
In the run-up to last year’s general elections, Chamisa told party supporters at a rally that the MDC would begin to attend State occasions.
“From now on, we will now be attending national events such as the national Independence Day, Heroes Day, Defence Forces day and other such national days.
“The time has come for us to cast away the image of bastards in our own motherland. These are national days that should not be needlessly politicised by a single political party.” Chamisa said.
This was two months after he has taken over the reins at the MDC in the aftermath of the death of party founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
MDC spokesperson Daniel Molokele said the opposition party’s policy is that individuals make their own choices on whether to attend or not.
“It is an individual decision and nobody will be victimised for attending. Those who feel like attending should go ahead,” said Molokele.
Chamisa argued Zimbabweans also need to begin debate around the conferment of national heroes’ status.
“We need to have a re-look at who is a hero. If anything, we must draw a line in the sand this year and declare that issues of heroism and patriotism must be above party parochial interests.
“The country must collectively revisit the definition of a hero. It will be sad if this generation is to leave this issue of those to come because they will definitely redefine these issues,” the MDC leader said.
“The issue of hero or patriotism must be inclusive and national in character.”