Bulawayo mayor skips Independence Day celebrations over snub

Bulawayo Mayor David Coltart did not attend the city’s official Independence Day celebrations on Thursday, citing a lack of respect shown to his office by the central government.

Celebrations for Zimbabwe’s 44th Independence Day were held in all 10 provinces, with provincial celebrations in Bulawayo presided over by Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube.

The main anniversary celebrations took place in Murambinda, Manicaland Province.

Prior to the event, Minister Ncube encouraged Bulawayo residents to attend the celebrations in large numbers.

However, Mayor Coltart announced on his X account that he would not be participating due to a repeated lack of courtesy extended to his office.

“While a general notice was sent to council members, the government has not invited the mayor’s office to attend,” Coltart wrote.

“This is a basic courtesy that should be extended to the office, not me personally.”

Coltart further explained that previous mayors had also been excluded from Independence Day celebrations.

“I am not prepared to allow this treatment of the mayor’s office to happen again,” he stated.

He pointed to a recent incident where his office was not properly acknowledged at a government-organized business expo.

“I registered a protest and left,” Coltart said. “I expect the office of the mayor to be respected.”

The mayor did express gratitude to Bulawayo city council members who did attend the celebrations, stating, “I am grateful that you are attending this national celebration and am with you all in spirit. God bless Zimbabwe.”

This year’s Independence Day celebrations carried the theme “Unity, Peace and Development Towards Vision 2030.”

Previously, Harare hosted the national event annually. However, since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office, celebrations have rotated across the provinces, promoting his administration’s goal of inclusivity.

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