HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has invited all opposition political parties in Zimbabwe to the 38th Independence celebrations set for the National Sports Stadium in Harare today, but said party regalia will not be allowed.
In keeping with tradition, cities across the country will also mark the day — with the usual ceremonial speeches and military parade to commemorate April 18, 1980, when the Declaration of Independence from Britain was adopted.
It will be the first celebrations since independence in 1980 that will not feature the former 94-year-old ruler, Robert Mugabe, who was forced to step down after the military seized power in November in a soft coup.
Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will preside over this year’s celebrations. The new head of State, who has been preaching inclusive politics, is expected to address the crowd to mark Zimbabwe’s 38th independence anniversary, where the opposition has been officially invited.
There are currently over 100 opposition parties contesting the forthcoming presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections.
In a statement yesterday, Local Government minister and chairperson of the Independence organising committee, July Moyo, said all political parties were invited to the celebrations in Harare as well as provincial and district venues around the country.
“This year’s independence anniversary celebrations mark the convergence of all Zimbabweans of different political persuasions and affiliations around the theme ‘Zimbabwe @38: Socio-Economic Restoration and International Re-engagement’,” Moyo said.
“It is taking place against the backdrop of the historic Operation Restore Legacy. Thus the celebrations tomorrow (today) are a consummation of our freedom which has ushered a new dispensation.
“It is therefore befitting that Zimbabweans gather together and celebrate in spite of our different political persuasions as one people, united by common destiny, to protect our invaluable freedom and independence.
“However, in keeping with the thrust and spirit of unity, the wearing of any form of political party regalia and related paraphernalia will not be allowed during the course and duration of the celebrations. Let us remain united. All political parties and all Zimbabweans are encouraged to attend,” Moyo said
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