Mugabe and Tsvangirai, partners in the unity government, attended the heroes’ day commemorations at the Heroes Acre where dozens of Zanu (PF) supporters were singing derogatory songs denouncing Tsvangirai when he arrived with his wife Elizabeth Macheka.
The chanting by Zanu (PF) supporters got worse when Tsvangirai was being introduced to the ire of Mugabe.
“We don’t want you to denigrate anyone who comes here. We don’t to hear those chants you were singing denigrating others, we don’t want that, we don’t want that,” Mugabe said as he began his heroes’ day commemorations.
The premier had arrived early just before Vice President Joice Mujuru and Mugabe arrived at heroes’ acre.
Close security officials had to frantically look for an extra chair back row on the main VIP stage for Tsvangirai’s wife after they realised that they could not accommodate the premier’s wife on the front row where her husband had been seated.
Mugabe in his speech called for peace and said the sanctions slapped on himself and his senior associates in government must be removed.
He urged political parties to start preparing for what he said should be peaceful
elections soon after the new draft constitution is put to a referendum.
The President, whose Zanu (PF) party is yet to endorse the draft constitution, said the document will be put to a referendum when the parties reach a consensus.
But the veteran leader hinted at that his party was not prepared to accept the new draft constitution in its current form.
“We are therefore delighted at that at long last the curtain is coming down on the constitution making process whose proposed draft is under consideration from our various parties,” he said.
“We have agreed that irrespective of the lessons and help we may have received from others who have worked from their own constitutions, their experiences can only be illustrative and never supplant and replace our own perspectives as Zimbabweans. Our constitution should unashamedly reflect Zimbabwean values and principles. No less and no more.
“It is our expectations that elections will follow soon after the referendum,” he said
The referendum is expected in October this year.
The heroes’ day commemorations also saw the burial of ashes of Kantibhai Patel whose remains were buried at the national heroes acre. Patel died last year and his body was taken to India for cremation.
Tsvangirai’s MDC party has said heroes must be determined by a neutral body in government and not by Zanu (PF)’s politburo.