MASVINGO – President Mugabe has challenged Zanu-PF leaders to stop spending most of their time fighting each other and should instead formulate innovative ways to engender socio-economic development.
He was speaking on Friday before officially opening the Herbert Chitepo School of Law at Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo, named in honour of the late national hero and Zimbabwe’s first black lawyer Herbert Chitepo. President Mugabe urged the revolutionary party’s leadership to fulfil long-standing plans to build a school of ideology named after Cde Chitepo.
He said the Zanu-PF leadership should take a cue from Great Zimbabwe University and find ways of mobilising resources to build the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology that has been on the cards since the attainment of independence in 1980. President Mugabe challenged Zanu-PF secretary for administration and chairman of the Herbert Chitepo Trust Didymus Mutasa to spearhead mobilisation of financial and material resources to build the school of ideology.
“On behalf of the party, Government and my family, I want to thank you for this gesture of naming the law school here after Chitepo and I think we (Zanu-PF) should learn a lot from this,” he said. “Hu, kungopedza nguva tichingoita basa rekutukana, hu! VaMutasa, yesterday (Thursday) I went home kuma9pm tiri muPolitburo and only managed to sleep na2am.’’
President Mugabe said it was disappointing that Zanu-PF had been overtaken in paying homage to the late Chitepo by Great Zimbabwe University which was the first to name a facility after the iconic late nationalist. “We are still to do our school of ideology named after Chitepo. We wanted to build it in 1980, then 1990 then 2010 and we are here today,” he said.
“Perhaps vaMutasa muri pano, you will be inspired. Hamungomirire mari chete! Our people are prepared to make bricks, even building. We can even make financial contributions, but there has been lack of drive which this man (GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo) has in abundance.’’
President Mugabe said honouring Chitepo was only the second way of paying homage to the late nationalist besides the interment of his remains at the National Heroes Acre. “I was a great friend of Herbert and this is so far only the second way of honouring him after putting him at the Heroes Acre,” he said. “We are happy that Great Zimbabwe University built a real monument where he will speak to you.
“Herbert, here is your honour! That’s it, and it all comes from you (Professor Zvobgo) .” President Mugabe described the late Cde Chitepo as a selfless leader who made immense personal sacrifices to kick-start the Second Chimurenga. Chitepo played a key role during the early stages of the decisive phase of the liberation struggle as the chairman of Zanu, together with his wife, politburo member Victoria Chitepo.
President Mugabe chronicled the late Chitepo’s history starting from the early days when he was a bright student at school before getting a scholarship to study at Fort Hare University in South Africa.
He said Chitepo was instrumental in the formation of Dare ReChimurenga, created by the zanu leadership to plan the prosecution of the armed struggle through recruitment of guerillas to undergo military training in countries such as Tanzania and Zambia.
Chitepo’s commitment to liberating Zimbabwe, said President Mugabe, was shown by his decision to leave his job as director of public prosecutions in Tanzania, relocating to Zambia where he led the prosecution of the war of liberation following a request from jailed nationalist leaders, including President Mugabe.
The President said it was painful that Chitepo died before enjoying the fruits of his successful planning of the armed struggle. At the time of his assassination in Lusaka, Zambia on March 18 1975, Cde Chitepo was the national chairman of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
“He was not able to see the fine development of the liberation struggle, 1978, 1979 apo zvinhu zvange zvave kunakidza, tava kutoita neurban guerilla warfare, bombing fuel tanks in towns,” said President Mugabe. He said it was saddening that Cde Chitepo and other liberation war luminaries such as zanla military supremo General Josiah Magama Tongogara perished before the attainment of independence after a lot of sacrifices.
President Mugabe said agents of the Rhodesian government tried to kill him and the late Vice President Simon Muzenda using a remote-controlled bomb they had planted along a road they were using, as they were coming from a rally in Masvingo just before the 1980 elections.
“Rhodesians were very rude, cruel. (The late national hero Kumbirai) Kangai was not able to witness independence in 1980 after a bomb was thrown in a house that he was sleeping in. His face was severely damaged by shrapnel and that was the time for elections, but you hear them today talking about free and fair elections. Nonsense!,’’ he said.
President Mugabe showered praises on Cde Chitepo’s widow, Victoria, whom he described as a mother of charity because of her undying love and support to nationalist leaders and freedom fighters during the war of liberation. The late Cde Chitepo’s last born son, Mr Khule Chitepo said his family was moved by the decision by Great Zimbabwe University to name their law school after his father.
The Chitepo family donated 155 books and legal manuals that were personally used by the late national hero to the new law school’s library. Prof Zvobgo said they took about nine months to build the Herbert Chitepo School of Law and saw it fit to name it after the former zanu chairman.
Midlands State University Vice Chancellor Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe said the naming of the law school after Cde Chitepo was befitting. The law school opened its doors last Monday with an inaugural group of 20 students. President Mugabe toured the law school, touted as the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and the region owing, to its state-of-the-art learning facilities.