Paidamoyo ChipunzaÂ Senior Reporter
Zimbabweans should remain principled and loyal to the country no matter what offers of money they can get from detractors, the President has said.Speaking at a birthday party hosted for him by civil servants in his office yesterday, President Mugabe said he never thought that some could abandon the principles that guided the liberation struggle.
The President turned 91 last Saturday and a bigger event for his birthday will be held in Victoria Falls on Saturday, coinciding with the 21st February Movement celebrations.
âWe shall always be together, together as we struggle for the development and transformation of our country. Please be loyal to your country, we are here because of the sacrifices of others,â he said.
âPrinciples are principles and you do not surrender fundamental principles, it doesnât matter what offers you might get and imperialists are very fond of swaying our people from principles. (They say) leave your job, I give you lots of money and if you accept you are swayed.
âThis targets your own principles, and you are a traitor, a traitor to your own cause, a traitor to yourself, a traitor to your people, that should never happen, but also within your organisation there are certain guiding principles. This is the leadership and that leadership demands that you belongÂ to it.â
President Mugabe said he has been doing well as the President of the country because of the peopleâs support.
Leadership, he said, was about working together and meeting the peopleâs needs and demands, who will then lend their support.
President Mugabe said Zimbabweans had the right to fight for their country that had been seized by force by imperialists.
âI never thought that any one could abandon beliefs that we were fighting for independence and that was our right to do so,â he said.
âZimbabwe was our country, it had been seized from us by force, we must get it back by force, but force rightly directed and not force to kill anyone, no.â
President Mugabe said he did not join the liberation struggle to seek posts.
âI was just one of the leaders,â he said. âI never joined the struggle because I wanted one day to be Prime Minister, no, but I joined the struggle to play my part as prescribed by the party, first publicity secretary and as we moved from NDP, ZAPU, I was still publicity secretary right through,â he said.
âI was secretary general of the party and I remained that even as the rest of people believed that the leader of the party had become traitor, being Ndabaningi Sithole, when we still had some of our people in the prisons, (Edgar) Tekere, (Maurice) Nyagumbo, we had remained just a number and myself and these three wanted me to be declared the leader of the party and I refused.
âI refused right up to the end even after getting out (of prison) we negotiated for those who had been arrested to be released and released before the Geneva Conference and I was still that.
âAnd when they were released I was still secretary general. My argument was, well the President can only be appointed by the people, but in 1977 we had that meeting in Chimoio, I accepted on one condition that we will get a verdict from the people as soon as we get back home. But I was just playing my part.â
President Mugabe said the main part of the liberation was to remove fear from the people and instil confidence that they could fight and win back the country.
He said Zimbabweans were inspired by countries such as Ghana who had won their independence to fight for their own.
âWe had excepted that the whites had come for good and as young stars we had never known where the whites came from,â said President Mugabe. âSo, these stories of Indina, Ghana where people leant to fly where stories which were quiet relevant and of course we saw that the relevance was not discovered only in our country for that matter we were late in discovering it, countries to the north of us got their independence much earlier.â
âThe Southern tip (of Africa) had to struggle, so it could rid themselves of imperialism and colonialism and learn how to fly, we were not blind to what was happening, nor were our consciences so daft so dam that we could not awaken them, energise them and let us believe in ourselves that we can if we commit ourselves to it if we were united and if we were determined to make sacrifices.
President Mugabe said the country had defeated Britain when it came to sanctions.
âAm glad that we have in spirit and morally defeated the British in their sanctions, though in physical terms we still have the sanctions,â he said.
âThank you thank you for the beautiful words, moving words conscientising words that came from you chief secretary (Dr Mischeck Sibanda), VP (Emmerson Mnangagwa), thank you for the event which speaks a lot more, itâs a gesture from you that you recognise your leader, itâs a gesture from you that goes deep, very deep in my heart.â