Mugabe, Tsvangirai at national shrine

2010-01-19 11:24

President Mugabe briefly returned from his annual leave to bury the

widow of veteran nationalist Leopold Takawira who was declared a national hero

and interred at the national shrine in Harare yesterday.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made his second official

appearance at the Heroes Acre and was accompanied by his two deputies, Arthur

Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe. Mugabe’s two deputies, Joyce Mujuru and John

Nkomo also attended to complete a rare public appearance of the country’s entire

top executive.

Mugabe, who made an unusual departure from his traditional attack

of Britain and the West, took most of his speech to recall the works of the late

Amai Sunny Ntombiyelanga Takawira and to relive the life of her husband, the

legendary Takawira who died in prison in colonial Rhodesia.

His speech would however have been incomplete without mention of

the ‘white outsiders’ and Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

Mugabe said ‘outsiders’ were welcome in Zimbabwe only if they were

coming to partner Zimbabweans in the exploitation of the country’s resources for

the benefit of Zimbabweans.

“The destiny of our country is in our own hands. Outsiders, yes we

need, but only to the extent that they want to partner us in exploiting the

country’s resources for the development of Zimbabwe and its people.

“Our country’s interests come first and Zimbabweans must be

prepared to defend those interests. The country’s sovereignty is non-negotiable,

and the unity of our people remains paramount in all our endeavours.

Ministers and officials from Tsvangirai and Mutambara’s parties

made conspicuous appearance leaving analysts wondering if Mugabe and his two

protagonists had finally agreed on the contentious criteria for choosing

national heroes.

The former opposition leaders had always complained about Mugabe

using his party’s supreme governing body, the politburo, to unilaterally decide

on who was to be declared a national hero.

 This had been presented as one of the

reasons why Tsvangirai’s attendance at the national shrine was not always


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