MDC supporters show Mugabe red card

HARARE - Dozens of opposition supporters dominated Independence Day celebrations last Friday, whistling and chanting opposition slogans as the civilian head of the military junta, Robert Mugabe, did his best to ignore them as he arrived at Gwanzura Stadium.

Mugabe, who arrived in his latest limousine at the stadium located deep in a poor ghetto in Harare, sternly inspected a military honour guard as a crowd outside the stadium screamed the opposition slogan of “chinja” – change in Shona.

Mugabe supporters were far outnumbered in the crowd outside the stadium.

Zimbabwe will never be the same, and he got the message loud and clear,” said Ronald Shumba, a political commentator who witnessed the heckling outside Gwanzura Stadium.

The MDC boycotted Mugabe’s “Independence Day” celebration.

“We will not wine and dine with murderers,” said spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

Mugabe’s Independence Day speech, in which he vowed the MDC would never rule Zimbabwe, was tinged with solemnity because of the post-election political violence that police did little to curb, the MDC said.

A defiant Mugabe claimed there was a British plot to use money to oust him from power.

“Today they have perfected their tactics to a more subtle form by using money literally to buy some people to turn against their government. We are being bought like livestock,” he said, speaking in vernacular.

Despite Mugabe’s anti-imperialist bombast, the presidential election results hold-up overshadowed the celebrations, as it made a complete mockery of a day meant to celebrate citizens’ right of choice of leadership in a political system, but which unfortunately has been stifled by Mugabe and his colleagues, most of them aging contemporaries in his Zanu (PF) party.

Throughout Mugabe’s 30-minute address, crowds outside chanted “Zanu yawora,” or Zanu (PF) is rotten, and flashed red cards, a soccer symbol adopted by the opposition to signal Mugabe should be ejected.  

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