By Tatenda Dembedza
MDC has announced it is proceeding with its planned 20th anniversary celebrations at Rufaro Stadium, Harare this Saturday despite it being the day former President Robert Mugabe is laid to rest in his rural Zvimba home.
The Nelson Chamisa led party was two weeks ago forced to delay its planned celebrations which were scheduled for 14 September “to mourn Mugabe”.
Chamisa’s decision to eulogise the once cruel leader was slammed by party youths who felt Mugabe deserved the opposite.
But addressing journalists at a press conference in Harare on Friday, party deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said all was set for the bash.
“All roads lead to Rufaro tomorrow (Saturday) and all is set for the party’s big birthday bash. All our provinces will be attending, not just the local province. Even the international provinces will be here in their huge numbers,” said Tamborinyoka.
He added, “We are going to hold our national council and hold an anniversary dinner tonight (Friday) and the proceeds from the dinner will go to our victims of violence, brutality and torture in the past twenty years.”
Tamborinyoka also dismissed claims by party deputy national chair, Job Sikhala who said on twitter that Chamisa was set to preside over Mugabe’s burial.
“It is a rumour and it will remain a rumour. There is no substance to that and it will stay like that, just a rumour,” said the MDC official.
Tamborinyoka said the main opposition was expecting thousands of party faithful to throng the football stadium for the celebrations.
The MDC bash will be spiced up by performances by some top musicians in the country.
“There are also awards that are going to be given to people who have made great sacrifices and great contributions to our party and institutional awards that will be given to various organisations.
“There will be huge entertainment tomorrow and some of the artists that are set to perform are Baba Harare, Tyson Chimbetu and Shinsoman,” he said.
MDC was formed in 1999 and has been involved in a bruising turf war with the ruling Zanu PF party albeit with modest success.
The closest the party has come into power was the 2009-13 power sharing deal with Zanu PF following inconclusive elections in 2008.