Tendai Mugabe: Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF leaders must not lobby for positions, but should allow people to elevate them on the basis of their good work at appropriate platforms such as the national congress, President Mugabe has said.The President expressed concern over power hungry tendencies being exhibited by the so-called Lacoste and G40 factions in Zanu-PF. Lacoste and G40 are factions believed to be angling to succeed President Mugabe in the Zanu-PF succession race.
Although harmonised elections are around the corner, the two factions are busy scheming and counter-scheming at the expense of service delivery and mass mobilisation.
Addressing members of staff in his office who threw him a 93rd birthday party at his Munhumutapa Offices yesterday, President Mugabe said leadership was about serving the people.
He said this after giving a detailed account of how people were elected into leadership positions during the liberation struggle.
President Mugabe said at the first congress of the National Democratic Party, he was appointed as publicity secretary, but doubled also as the secretary-general where he stood in for Cde Morton Malianga, who was posted to represent the party in Egypt.
He said no one at that time lobbied for positions, but that the congress, in its wisdom, just looked at those in the front role and gave them various positions judging by their performances.
“Leadership did not come out of persons who addressed their hands and say we are candidates for this post or that post,” he said.
“No! The people, congress in its own wisdom, just looked at those who are in the front line and say, we want so and so and those who were in the interim body and that was it. They gave you that post and you could not say no. That was the style, that you do not canvas for a post.
“Let the people just judge you from how you work. They have seen your work. That is the correct attitude. We did not have the nonsense that we talk about. G40s and Lacoste. So, you can see the background. (Dr Joshua) Nkomo was in London, came back later, much, much later. You are a leader of the people, be a true leader of the people.”
The President continued: “So, as I respond to you and you all and say thank you for the day and thank you for the birthday gifts. I want to say to you, I did not make myself what I am in the same way that I did not give myself the 93 years. The good Lord did. But I did not make myself the leader I am. It’s you the people. The people of Zimbabwe and when we talk of the people, then we must be aware and aware at every moment, that these people have needs.
“I have often said, it’s the demands, the needs of the people that pull us and it is on the basis of these needs that we establish our policies in the party, our policies in Government, and our programmes finally and fulfilment in Cabinet.”
Turning to investment, President Mugabe said Zimbabweans should have control of their natural resources and foreigners should only come as partners on terms and conditions determined by the locals.
He said political independence was meaningless if people did not have control over their resources.
The President thanked the staff in his office for supporting him and proffering instructive advice from time to time.
Said the President: “I could never have done what you have described here as achievements without the people. You are working with others and (it) is that togetherness, a togetherness that is undoubted, that is not affected by pretence, honest, commitment because of humanity, because of our people.
“I want to thank you all for this day where we are celebrating. We have walked the upward steps together.
“We have treaded these steps together. You, most of you, perhaps, behind me, sustain me and giving me greater courage, the inspiration and I derive that support and encouragement so, we create the fortitude. You know that character, which says that, which is mine is mine.
“Let no one interfere with it. Choose to die to rescue it, retrieve it because it’s mine. What is ours in Zimbabwe is ours, our natural resources. It’s nonsensical to try and read theories whether they are Marxist or what and apply them here as foreigners to say well, if foreigners come, they have money, that money they have for investment and they are the funders they have absolute ownership of our resources. No! It is only when we the owners, (say) yes, this portion of our investment we allow you to have so your investment can only go this way, get up to this length. In other words, investment is circumscribed.
“It is not accepted to us that the country, whether you are America, Britain or France that agree. We will give you protection that we all need, resources that lie underground.
“Where is our independence when we cannot own our natural resources? What are we in our country if we cannot say, the forests are ours, the animals are ours, the gold, copper diamonds, iron that are lying underground are ours? If we can’t say that, whose are they? Come you investor sure, that is the claim there, overrate it. Let’s overrate it together.”
President Mugabe left everyone in stitches when he said at the age of 93 he could tell stories that happened 80 years ago and no one could question them whether they were true or false stories.
The birthday party was also attended by the two Vice Presidents Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet members and staff from the Office of the President and Cabinet.