Mugabe rallies party together ahead of polls
Lovemore Ranga Mataire
President Mugabe has rallied his Zanu-PF supporters and senior party cadres to bury differences ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
Addressing thousands of supporters in Bindura, the provincial town of Mashonaland Central Province, President Mugabe said it was time that party members desisted from tribal inclinations that tended to divide the party along ethnic lines.
Factionalism has become so rampant in the party, particularly in Masvingo and Midlands Provinces.
“We do not want that (factionalism), it destroys the party and it kills the party. To the other leaders in the party, I say stop it, stop it, stop it,” President Mugabe said to multitudes of youth gathered at Chipadze Stadium.
Zanu-PF has been drumming support targeting the youths who form part of a large chunk of eligible voters. The President pledged to acquire land for distribution for youths, including funding of housing apartments in urban areas.
His empowerment message seems to have resonated well with the youths judging by the massive attendance to the Presidential Interface Rallies that have so far been held in seven of the country’s 10 provinces.
As he addressed the youths last Saturday, Mugabe reminded them that Mashonaland Central was the birthplace of the spirit medium Charwe, popularly known as Mbuya Nehanda who championed the First Chimurenga War against colonial settlers.
He said it was in this province where the fiercest battles were fought during the liberation struggle. The President urged the youths to emulate the spirit of Mbuya Nehanda and the fighters who started the Second Chimurenga War by attacking Alterna Farm.
Typical of his encyclopaedic memory, President Mugabe gave a historical narrative of some of his closest lieutenants- Vice President Ememrson Mnangagwa and Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi. The two are touted as front-runners to succeed him.
President Mugabe said it was him and other senior party colleagues who invited Cdes Mnangagwa (who was in Zambia and finished his law degree) and Sekeramayi who had completed his medical studies in Sweden.
He also gave an account of the internecine factional fights between the late President Simon Muzenda and Cde Mnangagwa with the former claiming that he was pushed out of the Midlands Province to Masvingo by the latter.
President Mugabe said a national leader must desist from touting tribal or ethnic inclinations as it was detrimental to national cohesion and unity.
He urged senior party cadres to emulate the party’s Youth League, which has thus far organised and mobilised youths for the interactive meeting with President Mugabe who is the revolutionary party’s candidate for next year’s harmonised elections.
Addressing the same gathering, First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe urged Vice President Mnangagwa to desist from associating with expelled youths who were in the habit of denigrating the First Family.
She said as the symbolical mother of the party and nation, she had every right to speak her mind out especially on issues that she thought were undermining the unity of the party.