President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe with first lady. The government has announced that it will not abandon former Ethiopian socialist leader Mengistu Haile Mariam to the pro-western government now ruling Ethiopia.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File
PRESIDENT Mugabe arrived at Zimbabwe Grounds yesterday to a roaring welcome from hundreds of thousands of war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters of all ages and from all walks of life in scenes reminiscent of the vibrant welcome he received upon his triumphant homecoming from Mozambique at the dawn of Zimbabwe’s independence in January 1980.
The crowd was part of the hordes that had marched the 10km distance from the Harare Exhibition Park to Zimbabwe Grounds as part of the Million-Man March organised by the Zimbabwe National War Veterans’ Association to express solidarity with the President ahead of next year’s historic harmonised elections.
Though no official figures were available at the time of going to press, the crowd at Zimbabwe Grounds was the biggest gathering seen in post-independent Zimbabwe.
Resplendent in party regalia, the President thanked Zimbabweans for seeing through the British machinations of trying to squeeze them through illegal sanctions and economic sabotage as part of the illegal regime change agenda.
‘‘Mumaindustry, maBritish vane over 400 companies dzichiri muno, zhinji dzacho dzirimumanufacturing sector. Vose vanaUnilever havasi vedu, vanaDelta havasi vedu, kune mamwe tinemashares akati kuti.
"Zvino ikoko ndiko kwavanoda kudzorera hupfumi hwenyika pasi, mbatya dzichishayikwa asi vachigona kudziita mumafactory avo kuti varwadzise vatema, kuti kana varwadziwa, vomukirana. Mukumukirana zvinoreva kuti vanenge vachimukira Hurumende kuti irikutadza kutonga.’’
The Government recently embarked on a price blitz to rein in errant businesses that were increasing prices daily without justification. This came in the wake of announcements by the United States embassy in Harare that the Government would fall within six months as inflation would have reached 1,5 million percent by December.
‘‘Ndinoda kukutendai nekunzwisisa kwamunako. Sevanhu vakabikikana kare nezviito zvemabhunu muno, mava neruzivo rwezvinoitika, mava neruzivo rwekuti nyika yenyu yakakosha zvikuru. Hapana dambudziko ringaite kuti iwe uzoti kumubhunu chitora zvako ndaneta, kana ndafa nenzara.’’
Turning to the MDC, the President said the opposition should be partners in development instead of cavorting with outsiders to destroy the gains of independence.
The President said all people and groups in Zimbabwe who consort with the enemy faced rejection at the polls as Zimbabweans were prepared to defend their hard-won independence.
‘‘Saka kune vedu mabhururu edu tinodya mundiro imwe chete. VeMDC iko zvino vapazana vavapaviri. Zvatinodya muno munyika ndozvavanodyawo; matambudziko atinawo muno munyika ndeavowo; zvikoro zvatinazvo muno munyika ndozvinodzidzisawo vana vavo. Saka pane nzira yatinofamba tose muno munyika, inzira yenhaka yevana veZimbabwe yatakasiirwa nemadziteteguru.
‘‘Ipapo pahunhu hwedu muno muZimbabwe ndopatinoda kuti tive neruzivo kuti tirikuhuchengetedza tose here kana kuti pane vamwe varikuhukanyakanya?
Tinoti isu kana muchikumbira kuti masanctions aiswe, zviri zvirango zvirikupihwa Zimbabwe, zviri zvirango zvinoita kuti hupfumi hudzokere shure, zvinoita kuti kurima kudzokere shure, murikuitira aniko? Murikuitira muvengi? Muvengi ndiye wava mukuru here pahama dzenyu dzemuZimbabwe? Muvengi ndiye ava mukuru here panhaka iyi yatiri kuvaka muno muZimbabwe?
"Iwe neni tine basa, kwete rekuchema asi rekuvaka Zimbabwe. Iwe neni taive nebasa rekuvaka Zimbabwe, iwe neni tine basa rekuchengetedza nhaka yedu,’’ the President said to wild applause and ululation from the packed Zimbabwe Grounds.
Turning to next year’s elections, the President urged Zanu-PF supporters to ensure that the polls are held in a peaceful manner in order to send a resounding message to detractors that Zimbabweans have spoken.
‘‘As we proceed to the target date of our elections, March 2008, the road is being made very clear, the road we are charting is a peaceful road. We don’t want any fighting, we don’t want any violence on that road. Let the people speak on that road, and the people will speak -- the people, the people, and the people and no one else.
"No outsiders are allowed to walk on that road nor to speak about what we are doing. Our march towards March 2008, it is our road, outsiders must keep their hands off, we do not want any interference.’’
Since the Government and the opposition co-sponsored Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Act, there has been a lot of talk about the feasibility of free and fair polls in Zimbabwe with some dismissing the prospects of a reflective electoral outcome, as shown by the MDC Tsvangirai faction’s claims that the State was visiting violence on opposition supporters.
The President said outsiders had no right of trying to impose their will on Zimbabweans as Zimbabwe was an independent, sovereign nation, answerable to its own people.
‘‘Zimbabwe is an African country, Zimbabwe has the sovereignty, sovereignty reposed in the people of Zimbabwe.
When the British pulled down their flag on the eve of Independence at midnight, between the 17th and 18th of April 1980, we, as our flag was being hoisted, became the owners of the territory now known as Zimbabwe. And we ceased that moment, in absolute terms, to be a colony of Britain. We became a sovereign state whose sovereignty spread over the entire territory and it applies to our resources in economic terms; to all that we do in economic terms in the socio-economic sphere; it applies also to our decisions as determined in the political sphere.
‘‘So we are totally independent not just of Britain, but any country at all, and let Britain, therefore, listen to this simple message, that Zimbabwe is no longer a British colony.
‘‘Let those who have been supporting Britain listen also to our assertion that we are no longer a British territory so we can never in any terms, however described, be an extension of Britain.
"And Britain has no right sitting and discussing us almost every week in their stupid parliament. Has Britain ceased to have any rationality, that every week they debate Zimbabwe? Once upon a time I believed that those who went into Number 10 Downing Street were better than street kids, that they could reason, but when we hear now
that even parliament itself, as indeed in the House of Lords, there are continuous debates on Zimbabwe we begin to wonder whether the British people have any sanity at all. Where is their wisdom, where is their understanding?
"We do not debate Britain in our own parliament. Do they have anything to do with us? If they want good relations with us, then they must be prepared to sit down with us and discuss areas of co-operation. That we are prepared to do. We are not prepared to have a Britain which sets itself as a master over us. Who are they, after all? ’’
The President thanked Sadc in particular and Africa in general for standing by Zimbabwe in the face of Western subversion. He singled out South Africa for special mention, saying Tshwane was doing a good job mediating in inter-party dialogue between Zanu-PF and the MDC.
He said Africa had stood by Zimbabwe and frustrated British attempts to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, and at many other forums.
‘‘I want to express our gratitude to our fellow members of Sadc for their support, support for our sovereign independence, support for Zimbabwe in its assertion to defend its sovereignty in the face of the onslaught that is coming from Britain and its allies.
"We thank South Africa for the facilitation it is giving to the talks between us and the opposition, and I hope Sadc takes cognisance of the good work it (South Africa) is doing.
‘‘We continue to thank the people of Africa for the support they have given us, once through the OAU, now through the African Union, for the support they have given us at various for a .they have stood with us when Britain has tried to introduce the question of Zimbabwe at these fora, and refused to let Britain have its way.’’
In the run-up to the EU-Africa Summit set for Lisbon, Portugal, this month, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been at the forefront of trying to get Zimbabwe barred from the summit.
After failing to have his way, he tried to armtwist the EU to send a humanitarian envoy to Zimbabwe as part of a campaign to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the summit.
When that failed again, Britain then sought to use the Commonwealth to pre-empt the summit and invited MDC faction leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to the CHOGM Kampala where he gave harrowing accounts of an alleged Government clampdown on his supporters.
The President said the Government was aware of the problems confronting the people and was pursuing various programmes to improve livelihoods.
He said the Government would soon install two more generators at Kariba Hydroelectric Power Station in addition to building more thermal stations to alleviate the power crunch. He said Government was confident this could be achieved in the short term as coal production at Hwange had improved.
Turning to water problems, he said the Ministry of Water Resources and Infrastructure Development was working flat out to replace obsolete equipment and pipes to rectify the situation.
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, he said, had various programmes to alleviate the housing shortage, saying he expected people would not only be allocated housing stands but would also be provided funds to help them build better houses.
The rally was attended by First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Vice President Cde Joice Mujuru, Government ministers, MPs, senior Zanu-PF officials and senior civil servants, among other dignitaries.
Gathering reminiscent of 1980
HUNDREDS of thousands of men and women — including war veterans, ministers, senior Government officials, workers and Zanu-PF supporters — marched through the streets of Harare yesterday in a massive show of support for President Mugabe.
The march began near the Zanu-PF headquarters with the marchers taking the prescribed route from Samora Machel Avenue.
Some walked to the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield while others were taken by buses, lorries and pick-up trucks.
As they poured into the city centre, singing revolutionary songs and waving placards, city workers and shoppers stopped to catch a glimpse by roadsides or through office windows.
War veterans’ leader Cde Jabulani Sibanda, ministers Cde Webster Shamu, Ambassador Amos Midzi, Cde Walter Mzembi, Cde Patrick Zhuwao and Zanu-PF Political Commissar Cde Elliot Manyika marshalled the marchers.
The marchers from the city centre joined others who were already at the Zimbabwe Grounds.
Motorists heeded calls by police to avoid the route to prevent congestion.
There was a heavy deployment to ensure the security of those participating in the march as well as those not taking part not.
The gathering at the Zimbabwe Grounds was reminiscent of the convergence by hundreds of thousands of people — including hitherto exiled political leaders and newly-returned freedom fighters — on March 27, 1980 shortly before Zimbabwe attained its independence.
Cde Mugabe gave a stirring address to the crowd that day at the same venue in a welcome home rally.
Yesterday’s historic march and gathering was attended by Government ministers, senior ruling party officials, local and foreign journalists and hundreds of thousands of ruling party supporters from all the 10 provinces who braved the hot weather.
Machipisa Shopping Centre, which is close to the venue of the gathering, was a hive of activity as buses, lorries and smaller vehicles dropped people from all over Zimbabwe.
Some marchers assembled at the Zanu-PF Highfield district office at Machipisa before proceeding to the venue.
As early as 8am, people had started to fill the grounds where some party youths had spent the night toy-toying and keeping vigil ahead of the historic event.
As the marchers walked to Zimbabwe Grounds, they were joined by many others along the way. When they arrived at the venue in Highfield, they were joined by another sea of marchers from the Glen View, Glen Norah and Budiriro high-density suburbs.
Security was tight with police and other security arms were present in large numbers to maintain peace and order.
Military helicopters hovered around the capital as the march exploded into life.
Zanu-PF supporters, clad in their party regalia, would sporadically join ministers, notably the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, and Deputy Minister of Indigenisation and Empowerment Cde Tracy Mutinhiri, who is also Women’s League political commissar, to the dance floor with music blaring from a disco.
The main event started just after noon with Cde Sibanda, Chiefs Council President Chief Fortune Charumbira, Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa and the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe taking to the podium to greet the crowd with slogans.
President Mugabe then delivered his one-and-a-half-hour-long speech, punctuated with applause from the gathering.
President solidly in power: Wade
President Mugabe is solidly in power and the world is misled on the problems in Zimbabwe, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal has said after a two-day visit to Harare.
"We are misled on (the situation in) Zimbabwe," he said on state television on Thursday night on his return from Zimbabwe.
He was in the country as part of efforts to mend broken ties between the southern African country and its former colonial ruler Britain.
Zimbabwe was doing well and led by Cde Mugabe with the support of the rural population, Mr Wade was quoted as saying, even if the country was going through "difficulties, like us (in Senegal), perhaps more, there is no threat to (President) Mugabe’s power right now, and those who believe that he will be deposed one moment or another, are mistaken. They are totally mistaken," said Mr Wade.
During his visit, Mr Wade joined the chorus of southern African leaders calling for the lifting of an array of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. — AFP.