MDC Alliance leader and MDC-T President Nelson Chamisa stole the show at the 38th independence celebrations held in Harare on Wednesday as thousands of people cheered him as walked into the stadium.
In recent weeks, Chamisa has managed to draw huge crowds to his campaign rallies for the upcoming 2018 elections expected in a few months.
Speaking to New Zimbabwe on Wednesday, Chamisa condemned Mnangagwa’s speech calling it “empty” and loaded with “unfulfilled promises.”
Chamisa said his party attended the celebrations because MDC-T, as a Pan Africanist-Democratic party, respects the sacrifices made by the heroes and heroines of Zimbabwe.
“The celebrations of today should not be a partisan affair but a collective event. As opposition, we are saddened by Mnangagwa’s failure to realise the plight of civil servants; he also ignored the corruption issue, the Zimbabwe Airways saga, the national healing issue, Murambatsvina and many other issues. I expected him to galvanize action on such issues but, he did not.
“Mnangagwa has made many promises that have not been fulfilled. He is very bold in his talk but very weak when it comes to delivering. He has promised a free, fair and credible election but we do not have reforms up to now. He must explain why soldiers are still in the rural areas,” said Chamisa.
Local opposition parties were sidelined by Robert Mugabe and many of their members had not been attending independence celebrations because the former president personalized the national events and used the platforms to denigrate them.
Mnangagwa has, so far, played a unifying figure for opposition and Zanu PF party as he calls on Zimbabweans to “embark on a new journey of nation building regardless of political persuasion.”
This year’s independence celebrations were the first since Mugabe was ousted through a military coup in November last year.