President challenges leaders
Nduduzo Tshuma/ Tinomuda Chakanyuka in Gwanda
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday called on the senior party leadership to work towards fostering unity within the ruling Zanu-PF and take after the liberation’s founding fathers who did not accept divisions.
Addressing thousands of party supporters at the sixth Presidential Youth Interface Rally in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, President Mugabe said the divisions rocking the party at the lower structures were reportedly caused by seniors, hence it was their task to restore order.
He said while the Zapu split of 1963 was regrettable, he was happy that the leaders later found each other as the liberation struggle comprised leaders who did not accept disunity. The President went down memory lane to the formation of Zapu and chronicled how he worked with the late Vice- President Dr Joshua Nkomo, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, Sikhwili Khohli Moyo who all hail from Matabeleland South Province. He also took time to honour fallen heroes who came from Matabeleland South, with special mention of Cde Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu whom he said will always be missed.
Chronicling the history, the President also mentioned Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, whose departure from Zanu-PF, the President said, still baffles him.
“We had uSikhwili lo Dumiso. I don’t know why Dumiso has done what he has done and left thina. We worked with him as a youth until he matured as a leader,” said the President.
Emphasising the importance of unity, the President also regretted the split of Zapu which led to the formation of Zanu-PF.
He said the 1963 split of Zapu leading to the formation of Zanu did not spell doom for the liberation struggle as leaders engaged and found a way forward.
“What happened afterwards was the split of Zapu that led to the formation of Zanu. It is one event which we regret, and we regret in our march of freedom. But these things happen, when they happen you don’t cry and say we are doomed. If you have good leaders they will sit and discuss, and find a way forward. This is what we had to do, in 1976 in Dar es Salaam. We were urged also by the President there, President (Julius) Nyerere to form the Patriotic Front.
“This was now in 1976 on the eve of the Geneva Conference. When we went to Geneva, we were now once again together as the Patriotic Front. That meeting did not succeed because the British delegation was not serious. So we came back home to wage the struggle once again,” recalled President Mugabe.
“But we had formed the Patriotic Front and it’s the Front that we still have. We did revive it later, refined it a little more. However, when we sat after Geneva, in Maputo to refine it, JZ was still alive but hardly three weeks afterwards when he came to Zambia, there was that bomb that claimed his life and it also injured the late (VP) John Nkomo.
“So our struggle was a struggle of leaders who did not accept disunity. We found ourselves once again after the formation of Zanu and here we are, we are together and we hope you as you discuss the party and party programmes ensure all the time that you are united.”
Against this background, President Mugabe urged the senior party leadership to play a leading role in uniting the party.
“The leaders must ensure that they are not divided because of the divisions that we hear about the party provincial structures seem to come from above. The likes of Mohadi, I met (Andrew) Langa, our Resident Minister, labanye. I also met SK (Moyo) who has just recovered from his illness. There are the ladies abo Damasane labanye.
“Keep the people together, keep the people together. Let us help them and we have to do quite a lot to prevent our youngsters from border jumping to go to South Africa. We are going to celebrate the day after tomorrow, Heroes’ Day,” said President Mugabe.
“Heroes’ Day bids us to take to heart what those who fought for the struggle and died for it left behind. It’s not an honour to them, not respect to them when we don’t want to recognise what they fought for.”
President Mugabe said the land remains at the heart of the development of the country and its people castigating some leaders whom he said were holding on to vast tracts of land.
“When we said to the colonialists this is our country, ilizwe lethu, Zimbabwe that was fought for by our children, Zimbabwe that is ours now in the context of freedom, it is ours now no aggrandisement. No. We must be fair in our distribution of it. Whether we are leaders or just ordinary people, we need the land,” he said.
“We need it on an equal level. Now for us to hear that some leaders have 3 000 hectares or more, others have just 500 hectares or less than that, that’s not fair.”
He said Matabeleland South was generally a dry area but received lots of rain in the last season eliminating hunger and the death of livestock and wildlife due to drought. He praised the unity shown by Zimbabweans towards the success of the Command Agriculture model which he said has resulted in the country recording a bumper harvest.
“You heard people talking about Command Agricultural system. We say to ourselves we have been given ideas coming from the First Lady after discussions with Vice-President Mnangagwa. The system was put in place. This is what we did last season, to say all those that were close to water sources, dams big or small let them be brought into this system and be given inputs, seed, fertilizer, chemicals and equipment. We thank you, you agreed to participate. We thank our youths, you helped a lot. Some people were beginning to laugh at us, saying we were no longer the bread basket of Southern Africa,” said President Mugabe.
“I heard Tsvangirai saying that we will starve because we have taken away farms from white farmers. We took those farms, first and foremost because the land is ours, the farms were ours in terms of them being part of the land of Zimbabwe which we had taken. We had fought, suffered and some died for it. It was not the only programme that was there. Of course we want to improve it here and there.”
President Mugabe said the beneficiaries of the Presidential Inputs Scheme also recorded bumper harvests.
“We are still harvesting maize. What we did not think of is the storing aspect. Our silos are full and we are running around trying to do what we can to preserve the harvest. But we are happy that the majority of you supported. That’s what the party can achieve when we work together,” he said.
President Mugabe hailed the Zanu-PF Youth League for its massive mobilisation exercise saying they have done what their predecessors had failed to achieve.
“VaChipanga you have demonstrated that when first your youth wing, which is an organ of the party is united, and thank God, thank God, you have managed to unite the youths. Tinokutenda, Siyakubonga kakhulu. You have done what the Youth League in the past was not able to do.
“But this comes out of leaders and a leader with a vision, a leader who can pick out programmes, assisted of course by others. We did not pick this out for you. You are the ones who came to me and said we have a programme, to thank you because you led the African Union in manners that pleased us, pleased the whole of Africa and gave us pride, putting Zimbabwe on the global map. The programme offended others,” said President Mugabe.
“The British were angry that this country continues to rule itself this well in spite of the sanctions. We still have sanctions imposed upon us by Britain. It’s nonsensical, absolutely stupid, that because we want our land we have claimed our land some other country abroad regards that as a sin but God gave us the land. He didn’t give it to Britain. I don’t see in the Bible, a chapter and verse which says here God said to Tony Blair I’m giving you power to take a country called Zimbabwe. That’s not there in the Bible. Just coveting our country? That’s thievery.”