The party’s deputy national spokesperson, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bulawayo East Thabitha Khumalo, said the MDC wants the issues to be addressed before their members can freely and fully participate at this year’s celebrations.
“All national events such as independence celebrations have been highly politicized in the past. Now that we have an inclusive government, we expect all political slogans, party regalia and introduction of party officials at state occasions to be a thing of the past,’ said Khumalo.
She said MDC supporters and officials have been embarrassed on several occasions at national events after being booed and verbally abused.
“The other important thing now is that we should be extra careful about what we say at national events. The whole world is watching us and any careless statements can be disastrous for our country, especially during this time when we are trying to seek assistance from other countries to rebuild our country," said Khumalo.
ZANU PF has been accused of politicizing national events, a situation which has led to opposition party supporters boycotting important occasions. President Robert Mugabe has also been accused of abusing state occasions by launching vicious attacks on his opponents and critics.
Meanwhile rampant hunting in the Sikumi valley of Hwange is threatening the Presidential Elephant herd, which is protected by a special decree passed by President Robert Mugabe in 1990.
Hunting activities are strictly forbidden in the area as it is specifically meant for photographic safaris and is frequented by tourists.
Hunters staying in Kanondo and Khatshana lodges, which are linked to a company owned by the minister of Mines Obert Mpofu, have been implicated in the illegal hunting of the elephants.
“There is rampant hunting of the presidential elephant herd in Sikumi valley. Recently two elephants were killed in the area. We do not know why no action has been taken over the illegal hunting,’ said one wildlife conservationist in the area who refused to be named for fear of victimization.
The conservationist said excessive hunting has also been reported on farm 39. The property is also home to the herd, which is protected by the decree.
The Presidential herd occupies land on the eastern boundary of the Hwange National Park in the vicinity of the Main Camp.