Former president Robert Mugabe reportedly “rejected an invitation from his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa to attend this year’s Independence Day celebrations in Harare on Wednesday”.
According to NewsDay, Mugabe had been officially invited to this year’s celebrations, which were the first without him as the leader of the southern African country.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Mugabe had previously indicated that he would attend but did not come to the celebrations.
Charamba said the veteran politician should be left alone as he needed to rest and had just recently returned from the Far East.
“I think people are expecting too much. It is not possible for the former president to be expected to take an active role in national issues a few months after the changes (in government). He needs to rest and he is 94.
“Another thing is he flew back into the country a few days ago from Singapore,” Charamba was quoted as saying.
Zimbabwe marked its 38th independence day anniversary on April 18, with new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa vowing to hold “credible elections”.
Mnangagwa called for leaders of all political parties to shun violence ahead of the first harmonised elections under the new administration, said a Herald report.
The elections were set for July.
“I urge all leaders of political parties to heed the call of our national anthem and be exemplary during our contestations and canvassing for people’s support,” Mnangagwas was quoted as saying. “Let us shun and condemn all forms of violence, divisive, hurtful (language) and hate speech.”