GWERU — President Robert Mugabe yesterday said Zanu PF would fight like a wounded beast to win next year’s harmonised elections which many see as his last-ever due to his old age.
BY PATRICE MAKOVA
“You know how a wounded beast fights. Let’s fight back and restore our own pride,” said Mugabe in his speech concluding the 13th Zanu PF annual national people’s conference.
He made an impassioned plea for party leaders to stop factionalism, saying the party did not belong to individuals.
He said Zanu PF lost the 2008 elections because of divisions and deliberate sabotage within the party structures.
He castigated known factions, reportedly led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying their [factions’] existence was a threat to the unity and survival of Zanu PF, especially towards the harmonised elections.
He also accused western countries of attempting to assassinate him because of his principled stance on pan-Africanism, saying he was unfazed by the endeavours and was willing to die for Zimbabwe.
“You can’t be afraid that you will be killed. How many have died?” he asked. “This is my country. I will die for it. A lot of others have died for it.”
Mugabe said the ouster of regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya was a western ploy to control resources in developing countries. “They also want our diamonds. So let’s prepare to defend our sovereignty,” he said.
Mugabe accused the United States of interference and having the “big boss mentality”.
But when he spoke about factionalism, both Mujuru and Mnangagwa were not in the auditorium.
Mnangagwa was said to be compiling resolutions for the conference, while Mujuru had already left before the close of the conference. The resolutions were however, not announced because Mugabe had to leave.
Mugabe said supporters and officials were now identifying themselves according to factions instead of the party.
He also touched on divisions in Harare province, saying it was totally unnecessary. “It’s dangerous,” he said. “Absolutely dangerous.”
He said Zanu PF supporters were no longer truthful and open to each other because of fears of being linked or vilified by any one of the factions.
He added that his lieutenants should not vie for his position, but give a chance for people to see their leadership qualities so that they are elected when the time is right. “Ensure that the people are united. Not united around you as an individual, but united in the name of the party,” said the Zanu PF leader.
He said it was embarrassing to seek for positions.
Mugabe directed his officials to start mobilising party structures ahead of elections set for mid-next year.
“We do not have to take up spears in order to win,” he said.
“No violence. Let’s have a peaceful election. Let our policies be the spear. We are now mature people and proud of our enlightenment and education.”