The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Leaders Must Be Morally Upright - President

LEADERS must be morally upright and truthful, and must not impose candidates during elections, the President has said. Giving a public lecture at Africa University in Mutare yesterday, President Mugabe said people should be allowed to freely choose their leaders. Zimbabwe is expected to hold harmonised elections in March next year and all major political parties are still to choose their parliamentary candidates, amid reports that members are jostling for the right to represent their parties in various constituencies across the country.

The President said some leaders were abusing his name at the expense of the people.

"We do not have to impose candidates on the people," said President Mugabe, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

"We should let the people decide who they want to be their leaders. The whole issue is about principles, principles, principles. Morality, morality, morality. Let's be truthful to our people. We do not usually succeed and we let the people down. A lot of (bad) things have been done in my name. Zvimwe zvacho zvitadzo, kana Mwari havambondiregerera."

President Mugabe said some of the activities had discouraged investors from coming to Zimbabwe.

"We do not want to discourage investors from coming to Zimbabwe. You are discouraging investors because of some of your activities."

The President said the land reform programme was irreversible.

"We will not go back on the land issue. That will not happen," he said.

"The resource is ours. What worries us is that our people have whites who have come back to Zimbabwe and are using them.

"We do not have the capital and the whites have taken advantage of that situation. They should take care because they would not be allowed to reverse the gains of our independence."

President Mugabe said the land reform was a fundamental issue dating back from the days of the liberation struggle. He said it was the land issue that almost broke talks at Lancaster House until Americans, then led by Jimmy Carter, promised to fund land reforms in Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe hailed the United Methodist Church, which runs Africa University, for assisting the Government in promoting education.

"We have done our part, but the church has done more," he said.

"We have our own universities, but the church has gone beyond to include education for the whole of Africa."

President Mugabe paid tribute to churches for inspiring Africans to fight for their freedom. He said the church continued to produce leaders across Africa.

"These are the leaders who will not be guided by their own selfish needs, but know the tenets derived from the Bible," said President Mugabe.

He hailed mission schools that gave black people an opportunity to education.

"It started at St Augustine's and spread to other areas in the country until there were schools all over."

President Mugabe urged African leaders to follow the principle of unity as was determined by African leaders leading to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union.

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