President Robert Mugabe has said he will never be biased towards his own Zvimba homeland as he tried to quell claims by rivals he was too concerned about his Zezuru tribe at the expense of all others.
Mugabe said at a Zanu PF rally hosted by party youths in Sakubva, Mutare Friday that he has been above tribalism since his wartime period with his colleagues and was surprised to see current leaders trying to fan divisions around ethnic lines.
"The liberation war could not have been a success if people regarded each other according to tribes and totems," he said.
"It would never have been a success if we all scrambled to be leaders.
"We said to ourselves, the leader we had at the time was the one and so the war should proceed with its objectives."
President Mugabe has been accused by rivals of favouring people from his Zezuru tribe.
Former finance minister Tendai Biti has accused the veteran leader of "zezurunisation", a term he coined to mean Mugabe was pushing for Zezuru dominance within the country's leadership positions.
Similarly, Temba Mliswa, Mugabe's former ally, has accused Zezurus of destroying the country, insisting their dominance on national politics must be brought to a halt.
Mliswa argued that Mugabe and his one-time deputies Joice Mujuru and Joseph Msika were Zezurus.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa's followers, equally, want a change of leadership from a Zezuru to a Karanga, Mnangagwa's tribe.
Ndebeles, similarly, have their own misgivings about how the country's leader seems to have side-lined and persecuted them.
But Mugabe said in unsolicited comments Friday that he was President for everybody, insisting he will maintain that stance.
"I want to thank you for the praises that you continue directing at me," Mugabe said to cheering followers.
"I will try my best to live up to what I regard as the calling by the people, to your wishes and I will remain the same; the same yesterday, the same today and the same tomorrow."
Mugabe denied he was only concerned about people from his homeland.
"We live together, we work together; I am not a President of one section. Yes, I come from Zvimba but I am President of the whole country. Of course once in a while we can do rituals that are only for those from Zvimba but I will never forget that it's the people, the people, all the people of Zimbabwe we must assist, people whose objectives, national objectives we must try to fulfill.
"So we try; well we may have failed but I am sure we are more effective when we are united."