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Vincent Gono/Levi Mukarati/ Nduduzo Tshuma, Sunday News Reporters
PRESIDENT Mugabe has warned ambitious lieutenants in his party who are angling to succeed him to stop fanning divisions, saying he will not be pressured into appointing his successor.
He slammed succession-driven factional divisions in Zanu-PF, called for unity in the ruling party, and reaffirmed his position that whoever would succeed him was going to be chosen by the people through an election.
President Mugabe made the remarks as he addressed tens of thousands of people in Matobo, Matabeleland South where people gathered yesterday for his 93rd birthday celebrations.
“I want now to refer to our problem, problem, problem, apparently unending problem of these divisions, divisions in the party. We want a party which is intact and united. When we say let’s be united, we will be saying let’s have the unity that binds us at heart, binds us also intellectually. True, true unity.
“The party has a programme, the party as we are saying is based on a party constitution and party constitution provides how people can get elected from one position to another. So why, why, why want to try to circumvent the constitution.
“Haunganzvenge yese constitution sebhora uchirovera parutivi kuti uwane chigaro, aiwa hatina kumboita party yakadaro. Whatever position you seek, it must be a position you get upon proper election. Izvi zvekuti vanhu vanonzi vanodyarana to create chairpersons or groups that support them will never succeed in Zanu-PF.
“People, whether they want to be chairpersons or any other (leaders) of provinces or districts, have to be chosen by the people of the particular organic framework, kubvira pasi apo kusvika kumusoro. “Zvino vamwe varikungopembera netwuma book twavo kuti vaMugabe ngavachienda, zvino ndozvandiri kubvunzawo kuti ndoinda kupiko?”
The President said he would not bow to calls by some elements for him to step down as he derived him mandate from the majority.
“Aiwa kana zvanzi Zanu yati ahh chigarai pasi ndinogaraka, ndokwandakabva, and by the way I have never canvassed for any seat in the party.” He said positions he held before independence in the NDP and Zanu had been given to him via selection, and that had continued from 1980 to the present. “. . . hazvisi zvenhimbe zvekubikira doro kuti huyai muzonwa kwangu mugondivhotera, vanhu ivo pachavo let them judge you. Zvino vamwe vanoti President sarudzai anokuteverei. Ho-o, ndiite impose someone upon the party? Aiwa, handidi ini, handidi. Vandinonzi ne-constitution sarudzai ndivo vangu vaviri ava vamuri kuona ava VaMnangagwa navaMphoko,” said President Mugabe.
He, however, said those eyeing the top job were free to express their interest. “We won’t block those with an interest who want to try. There are some who think they have some level of popularity and that they are wanted by the people in their areas and if they go to other areas. “No; let’s just work and get to that time when naturally the occasion comes for us to go to Congress.
We can have an Extraordinary congress if the President retires but isn’t you say I should lead you even in the next elections, so I will be with you.
“We must be together. I will be seeing and analysing that within the family I have: who are the strong and enduring, those are the ones we will be looking at on the day when it comes. We don’t want a leader who will say what Mugabe was doing, taking farms from whites, was bad, let’s return them. No.”
On the economic front, Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government said:
“Let us value our own country and its natural resources; work hard to develop our natural resources as we transform our socio-economic system; improve on our agriculture; use Zim Asset; improve on our industry and commerce; improve on our infrastructure, ICT — you will see our Zimbabwe wearing a new face,” he said.
He said bond notes were a temporary measure and asked Zimbabweans to be patient during their use. President Mugabe said youths should enhance their skills and propel themselves to the top.
“The youth, we all accept that they are not just members of the party today, that they will lead after us and that, therefore, it is absolutely necessary because they also are undergoing a learning process,” he said.
“It is absolutely necessary that they learn from us their elders, try to learn from us the elders and adopt the ideas, ways, constructive ways of building society, that we as the elders have adopted; and cherish these as their own for tomorrow.
“They can use these as their own experience, foundations from all which they can run our society in other words govern and hopefully govern a nation.”
President Mugabe also thanked Zanu-PF’s youths for successfully organising the Million-Man March last year.
“It was only yesterday when they decided on organising a One-Million Man March. Only yesterday and people poo-pooed the idea and said they can never do it. But the youth said they will do it, they can do it. We said fine do it, and they did it. They did it and surprised everybody. Never before has there been an organised one-million man march of the dimensions that we saw,” said President Mugabe.