Zimbabwe: Don't Deify Me, Says President

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
16 December 2017

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has deplored the singing of songs that idolise him, saying he preferred that people sing the national anthem or liberation war songs. He said this while opening the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress held at Robert Mugabe Square in Harare yesterday. President Mnangagwa said his presidency was for all Zimbabweans irrespective of race, colour or creed.

"The role you have given me and the office you have inserted me into, can never be partitioned to anyone," he said.

"The praise song I desire, if you were to sing one, is that of our national anthem and those from the liberation struggle, not for myself, no! If you sing the national anthem, if you sing those national songs then me and you are together." President Mnangagwa castigated factionalism and regionalism and called for party unity.

"In light of the above, regionalism, factionalism and titles such as 'G40' and 'Lacoste' must be condemned and migrate from the body of our party forthwith," he said.

"As the leadership of the party gathered in this Extraordinary Session of Congress, let us commit to unite the party membership."

President Mnangagwa urged Zanu-PF members to abide by the party's constitution, especially Article 2 that speaks against discrimination along regional and tribal lines, among other sections. "In line with this instruction, therefore, my ascendance to the helm of the party must never be interpreted as a defeat of one faction and installation of another," he said.

"My presidency should not be perceived as a rise in the fortunes of a region, a tribe or a totem. My presidency is about a united Zanu-PF, a national party with a national outlook. I stand, therefore, as the President of a united, non-racial Zimbabwe, itself home to many tongues, dialects, cultures, colours and age groups. I am a President of women and men, the young and the old, the able-bodied and physically challenged, the rich and the poor, the well and the sick. I am an emissary of all the veterans and heroes, dead or alive, who through their blood sketched the cause and mission which my presidency must promote, must actualise and advance."

President Mnangagwa said Zanu-PF had a long history and a special relationship with the people underwritten with the blood of heroes of the liberation struggle. "This fact of Zanu-PF's special status and standing as the party of national liberation makes it a national heritage and courier of a national legacy and above all, a definer of our country's future," he said.

"Thus, Zanu-PF as the governing party, makes and requires it to be a national home for all. It must also be an instrument available for a national purpose and destiny. Zanu-PF can, therefore, not exclude, divide or fragment, nor be allowed to sag or succumb for lack of fore-sighted leadership."

President Mnangagwa said the ruling party should strive to achieve the people's aspirations. He said Zanu-PF should have thriving intra-party democracy at all levels. "Party structures from the cell/village levels right up to the Central Committee must be platforms in which the membership discusses freely, without fear or favour, matters concerning the party, as well as developmental issues which affect their communities and the nation at large," said President Mnangagwa.

"Equally, elections at all levels of the party must be undertaken as guided by the rules and regulations of the party, free of chicanery, manipulation and favouritism." President Mnangagwa said Zanu-PF should compete with other political parties in credible, free and fair elections. "This we will continue to do as we have since independence and I have already announced that the 2018 harmonised general elections will be held as scheduled," he said.

"In the planning and conducting of these elections, our position as the ruling party demands that we carry the nation we liberated, securing all who live within its borders, upholding the national Constitution, laws and values, as well as defending and safeguarding our country's sovereignty. Above all, we must ensure peace over our land, towards whose nurturing and preservation, we must spare no effort."

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