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Zimbabwe's MDC, Now In Government, Embraces Independence Day

Now that Morgan Tsvangirai is the prime minister of Zimbabwe, his formation of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change is urging its members around the country to attend Independence Day celebrations on Saturday with their ZANU-PF counterparts.

In the past, the MDC avoided public observations of the national day because it considered the commemorations to be ZANU-PF propaganda exercises. Zimbabwe was born from the former white-dominated Rhodesia on April 18, 1980, following a war of liberation.

Now Tsvangirai's MDC formation says Independence Day is a national event and the property of no single political party. However, sources in some Zimbabwean provinces say ZANU-PF officials are refusing to work with local MDC officials to plan celebrations.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of Tsvangirai's MDC grouping, also the minister of Information Communications Technology, told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the party is aware of tensions in some areas and is dispatching monitoring teams.

Though Zimbabwe now has a unity government, many Zimbabweans still see Independence Day as a ZANU-PF event, not a national holiday, but that is changing as the MDC embraces the occasion and Zimbabweans become more upbeat about national prospects.

For a closer look at this phenomenon, reporter Patience Rusere turned to Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, and Fungai Chiposi, founder of a Facebook-based social interaction group called Proudly Zimbabwean.

Though some attitudes are changing, Chiposi says most Zimbabweans still identify the national holiday with the long-ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...