MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa received a standing ovation as he arrived at this year’s independence celebrations held at National Sports Stadium in Harare, stealing the thunder from Chiwenga, whose reception was rather lukewarm, suggesting public anger at the way he has handled the nurses’ issue.
Chamisa said he attended the event in preparation for his takeover of government business after this year’s general elections.
“This is a national event, we are here to pay tribute to the departed heroes of our liberation. Next year, Mnangagwa will be in the opposition and we would like him to attend this event. For us, this was a rehearsal because we are forming the next government,” he said.
The MDC Alliance candidate said Mnangagwa’s speech failed to address fundamental issues affecting the nation, particularly the ongoing nurses’ strike.
“He omitted a critical issue which the nation is eager to have addressed and also interested in knowing the plans of government, that was missing too,” he said.
Other opposition parties dismissed Mnangagwa’s speech as hollow.
“Honestly, we have had this talk for a long time in the country. We have had economic policies, but none of that has changed the economic challenges,” Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume said.
Progressive and Innovation Movement of Zimbabwe leader Tendai Munyanduri dismissed Mnangagwa’s pledge to reform the electoral roadmap as “the usual empty Zanu PF rhetoric”.
But former Zanu PF stalwart, Rugare Gumbo, said: “The speech was very good and, as far as we are concerned, what is critical is implementation of those policies. There is hope now and we cannot expect things to change in five months. He has good policies and what we want is implementation, which is key and he should walk the talk.”