ZIMBABWE – President Mugabe is a national leader who remains guided by the wartime mantra of “Mwana wevhu” which pre-empted any notions of tribalism and regionalism leading to the successful execution of the war of liberation, Vice President Cde Phelekezela Mphoko has said.
He said tribalism was a political modus operandi of the Rhodesians which should not be tolerated.
“We should promote the notion of ‘son of the soil’ like what used to happen during the war. Not that I am from Manicaland, I am from Masvingo or I am from Matabeleland. No!” said VP Mphoko.
“A ‘son of the soil’ does not come from a region and does not have a creed. He or she is just a Zimbabwean. That is what we should promote. Not that someone is Ndebele and another is a Karanga.”
He said President Mugabe and the late Vice President Cde Joshua Nkomo variously worked with a lot of people from different tribes during the war but never resorted to tribalism.
VP Mphoko was addressing thousands of people at a rally at Marisamhuka Centre in Mhondoro to garner support for Zanu-PF candidate in the Mhondoro-Mubaira by-election Cde George Gangarahwe.
“I want to repeat what I said in Chiweshe. If you see yourself saying that President Mugabe is Zezuru, then you don’t know what we fought for. And if you say that President Mugabe is Zezuru and should be replaced by a Ndau, Ndebele and Karanga that is not what we fought for,” he said.
He said President Mugabe is not Zezuru but a national leader and so is he and Vice President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa who are Ndebele and Karanga respectively.
VP Mphoko said no one can claim to be a war veteran, or a member of Zanu-PF while denigrating the President and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.
“Those who denigrate the President and First Lady are not Zanu-PF. There is no war veteran under the command who can turn against the President. You cannot have someone break a sweat while denigrating the leadership and claim to be Zanu-PF,” he said.
War veterans gathered at the City Sports Centre in Harare on Thursday to hold a feedback meeting, but it was disrupted by police who said it was not sanctioned.
Vp Mphoko said there are some cadres who were part of the Mujuru cabal who realised the folly of their ways and should be welcomed back into the party.
“Commissar, you have a lot of work to talk to cadres that we have worked with for a long time who have remained loyal to the party so that we welcome them back to the party. People like Shamu (Webster),” he said.
Cde Shamu made a slogan denouncing the upstart Zimbabwe People First party and Dr Joice Mujuru before hailing President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Dr Mugabe. Party secretary for administration Dr Ignatius Chombo said President Mugabe is the sole party candidate for 2018.
“At the Victoria Falls Conference the convocation on page 14 of the party constitution clearly states that our President (Mugabe) as selected at the 2014 Congress will represent the party in 2018,” said Dr Chombo.
“If there is anyone who wants to contest, they can only get the mandate in 2019 to stand for elections in 2023.”
National political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said Zanu-PF has no shortage of manpower and if any cadres go wayward like Cde Sylvester Nguni they can be expelled and replaced.
Mashonaland West party provincial chairman Cde Ephraim Chengeta said the party had mobilised support for its candidate Cde Gangarahwe in the March 5 by-election. The seat fell vacant following the expulsion and subsequent recall from Parliament of Mr Nguni.
The rally was also attended by Senate president Cde Edna Madzongwe, Mberengwa South legislator Cde Makhosini Hlongwane and Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire among others.