Politicians from the Mutambara (pro-senate) faction of the MDC did attend.
Thokozane Khupe, vice president of the Tsvangirai-led MDC, told The Zimbabwean: “On behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, we have taken a decision not to be part of this charade. Our MPs shall continue to attend Parliamentary sessions, but we shall not sanitize Mugabe’s cheap political grandstanding.”
MDC officials, including Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland, who attempted to wave placards denouncing Mugabe outside Parliament, were whisked away by plain clothes secret police.
In his speech, Mugabe promised to turn around Zimbabwe’s crisis-wrecked economy on the back of improved agricultural production and the newly unveiled economic blueprint – the National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP).
Meanwhile power cuts blacked out much of his address across Harare, during which he promised to address Zimbabwe’s worsening electricity shortages “through the construction of new stations and revamping existing ones.”
Downtown Harare was hit by widespread outages minutes before state-run radio and television were scheduled to broadcast his speech live.
Mugabe also expressed concern about the soaring cost of health care, which put basic services out of reach for most. He said he would introduce a cadetship programme that would bond health professionals to state hospitals for lengthy periods.
Predictably, the aging dictator slammed the west, saying Zimbabwe, had been “tarnished by the current British government.”
“It is however refreshing that the world has now become fully aware of the dishonest and hypocritical anti-Zimbabwe strategy of the current British government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Members of the MDC youth and women’s wings marched to Parliament to present a petition to the government calling for a resolution of the country’s worsening crisis.
BY GIFT PHIRI
HARARE - Anti-senate opposition legislators in Zimbabwe's fractured Movement for Democratic (MDC) on Tuesday snubbed President Robert Mugabe's official opening of the second session of Parliament, saying they had no business listening to a "dictator" pontificating about imaginary