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Zimbabwe Opposition Parties Boycott Defence Forces Day Commemorations

FILE: Zimbabwean soldiers march as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrive for the state burial of a former foreign minister Stan Mudenge, officiated by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, in Harare, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Mugabe Says Defence Forces Playing Key Role in Developing Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe says it was not easy integrating the warring liberation armies, ZIPRA and ZANLA, on one hand and the Rhodesia defence forces after a brutal war that left thousands dead.

Addressing thousands of people who thronged the National Sports Stadium to commemorate the national Defence Forces Day, Mr. Mugabe said the defence forces are instrumental in the socio-economic development of the country by guaranteeing peace and stability.

President Mugabe commended the defence forces for their community work which includes construction and humanitarian work.

Defence Forces Day is commemorated every second Tuesday of August.

Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, Zanu PF legislator for Makokoba constituency in Bulawayo, said the defence forces remain united despite the intergration of former foes.

Conspicously absent from Tuesday’s Defence Forces Day commemorations were members of the opposition who were also absent from Monday’s Heroes Day commemoration.

Political commentator Brilliant Mhlanga told VOA Studio 7 the opposition will continue to boycott such events especially after the country’s service chiefs’ statement some years ago openly declaring their support and allegiance to Zanu PF and Mr. Mugabe.