Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Zimbabwe News Update: ZANU-PF Raring to Go; War Veterans Speak; President Mugabe Meets Mufamadi

Zanu-PF raring to go: Manyika

Herald Reporter

ZANU-PF provincial executives are geared up and raring to go in a campaign that would ensure a resounding victory for President Mugabe in the presidential run-off set for June 27, the ruling party’s secretary for the commissariat, Cde Elliot Manyika, has said.

Speaking after a meeting of party leaders, provincial executives and March 29 harmonised election candidates at the Zanu-PF headquarters yesterday, Cde Manyika said the provinces had been urged to go out on a full throttle campaign for the party’s presidential candidate.

"Our candidate, the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF, Cde Mugabe, yesterday (Sunday) issued an order for all our supporters to go out and campaign vigorously for a resounding victory.

"That order should be taken seriously and the provinces, including candidates who won or lost in the March 29 harmonised elections, should cover every corner and inch of the country with our message for victory in the presidential run-off," he said.

"We would want to urge everyone in the party to go out, campaign for President Mugabe and remind voters that this country is ours.

"The land is ours. The economy is ours and white people who are trying to usurp our powers should only come and work with us as our partners," he said.

Cde Manyika said people attending the meeting had been very enthusiastic and raring to go out and campaign to ensure a victory against MDC-T candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

"They are eager to go for an all-out victory for President Mugabe in the presidential run-off," he said.

Cde Manyika said although the country was going through its own challenges, the provincial leadership should let people understand that Zimbabweans alone can solve these problems.

"Voters should not expect our challenges to be solved by voting in a puppet government trying to serve the interests of imperialist forces.

"The people should accept that we are Zimbabweans and our sovereignty is of paramount importance. We should solve our own problems and Government is trying its best to solve all the challenges the country is currently facing," he said.

President Mugabe, speaking at the party’s official launch of the presidential run-off campaign, urged party supporters to be united and avoid divisions and power struggles that affected the party’s performance on March 29.

He said the people should send a message through their vote, a vote that will not be doubted by anyone, which should be raised in the province for a massive victory.

Although there were differences of opinion in Zanu-PF stemming mostly from primary elections held before the March 29 polls, Cde Mugabe said, these should be set aside for the common good and be dealt with conclusively when victory has been secured.

President Mugabe faces Tsvangirai in a presidential election run-off after none of four presidential aspirants got more than 50 percent of valid votes cast in the March 29 poll to be declared a winner.

Governor urges electorate to rally behind President

Midlands Bureau

THE forthcoming presidential election run-off to be held on June 27 is a battle not between President Mugabe of Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T but between Zimbabwe and Britain, Midlands Provincial Governor, Cde Cephas Msipa, has said.

Speaking at victory celebrations for the Zvishavane-Runde Member of the House of Assembly elect, Cde Larry Mavhima at Matambe Business Centre under Chief Mazvihwa, the governor urged the electorate to vote with their senses and rally behind President Mugabe in the run-off. He said the electorate should decide their fate on the day whether to return the country into the hands of Britain or defend their sovereignty through the candidature of Cde Mugabe.

"It has become clear that Britain is using the MDC frontier in her bid to re-colonise Zimbabwe and it is our duty as united Zimbabweans to decide our fate on June 27.

"The opposition with its leader, Tsvangirai represents the British while Cde Mugabe represents Zimbabwe. I therefore urge all people to rally behind Cde Mugabe’s candidature because he is an illustrious son who fought for our rights through the land reform programme which has irked the British," he said.

Cde Msipa described President Mugabe as a hero who remained steadfast and firm against pressure from some Western countries bent on reversing the fruits of an independent Zimbabwe.

He said people should not be brainwashed into voting for the opposition party whose leader Tsvangirai had since become the servant of Britain.

"We must come back to our senses and overwhelmingly vote for President Mugabe in defence of our sovereign nation. Your vote should not be a sell-out vote. This country did not come through an X but was fought for. We should therefore consider the credentials of the people whom we vote for.

"What credentials does Tsvangirai have that can make him the right candidate for the presidential office?" asked Cde Msipa amid applause from a gathering of over 2 000 people who attended the celebrations.

He said while people should appreciate that the current economic hardships were a result of recurrent droughts, they should realise that the situation had been compounded by the imposition of illegal sanctions by Britain and her allies.

"These sanctions were imposed on this country through Tsvangirai and we should consider this when voting. There is nothing that can make Tsvangirai rule this country courtesy of the British who are bent on reversing the land reform programme," he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Cde Mavhima said the celebrations were premature until the June 27 run-off.

"I urge all people to go out and vote overwhelmingly for President Mugabe and send off the opposition leader Tsvangirai.

"After sending the opposition and their Western masters off our independent Zimbabwe, then we have everything to celebrate," he said.

President meets SA minister Mufamadi

Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday held talks with South African Provincial and Local Government Minister Mr Sydney Mufamadi at State House in Harare amid growing regional concerns over xenophobic attacks that have left 56 people dead so far.

Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde George Charamba confirmed the closed-door meeting.

"Yes, they held a meeting but I am not privy to the issues that were discussed," he said.

Mr Mufamadi was one of the negotiators of the talks between Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC that were brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The meeting comes amid growing concerns on anti-migrant violence in South Africa that has displaced more than 35 000 people, mostly Zimbabweans and Mozambi-cans.

President Mbeki made a rare address on Sunday appealing for peace while chairing a meeting of a taskforce comprising 11 cabinet ministers set up to deal with the unrest.

In his address, President Mbeki called the violence against foreigners "an absolute disgrace" that had blemished the reputation of the country.

His speech came after government heavyweights had descended on informal settlements around the country in an attempt to appease angry locals.

Although the overall picture was one of calm after a crackdown by police, intelligence services and the army yesterday, flare-ups were still being reported and the atmosphere remained tense.

A parliamentary special taskforce set up to investigate the attacks was set to brief reporters later yesterday amid confusion about how authorities plan to reintegrate and care for the thousands of people sleeping rough.

Although Safety and Security Minister Mr Charles Nqakula said the situation was now under control, aid groups warned about health problems and the difficulty of dealing with such a vast number of people, with the Red Cross complaining of lack of national co-ordination.

"The big problem is co-ordination of information between authorities and NGOs (non-governmental organisations). It’s not very well-organised," Francoise Le Goff, director of the Red Cross in Southern Africa, told AFP.

"The government is still looking for shelters for people and we’re still in an emergency situation."

Muriel Cornelius, programme co-ordinator for South Africa for aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), told AFP:

"The situation is about to get worse. People have still not received aid and they’re not even under tents. The reaction of civil society is incredible but it is not enough," she added.

Police spokesman for Gauteng province Govindsamy Mariemuthoo was quoted by AFP saying apart from a few empty shacks set alight in Katlehong (east of Johannes-burg), the atmosphere was peaceful.

In the coastal city of Durban, five Mozambicans were seriously injured after being attacked on Sunday night, police said.

In Cape Town, police reported calm and in Johannesburg it was quiet with only a few shacks burnt.

Mr Mufamadi’s meeting also came after President Mbeki’s visit to Zimbabwe early this month where he held closed-door talks with Cde Mugabe for about three hours.

Sadc heads of state last year mandated South Africa to mediate in the talks between the ruling party and the opposition.

Zimbabweans go to the polls on June 27 to vote in a presidential run-off pitting President Mugabe against MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The run-off will be held concurrently with House of Assembly elections in Pelandaba-Mpopoma, Gwanda South and Redcliff.

We are not violent, says war vets leader Sibanda

Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairman Cde Jabulani Sibanda has dismissed reports that his members were leading a terror campaign against Zimbabweans, saying war veterans were instead victims of the post-March 29 election violence.

In an interview in Harare yesterday, Cde Sibanda said ZNLWVA members were well aware that violence or any statement that incites violence was counter-productive in an election.

"War veterans are not a violent people and it is very clear that our responsibility as an association is to educate the masses so that they will not be gullible to the opposition’s propaganda and hunger caused by sanctions and their violent activities," he said.

Cde Sibanda said ZNLWVA members were not responsible for the violence but "were victims — psychologically and physically — of MDC violence promoted and sustained by American Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee, their commander."

"If you had a chance to see the MDC-T working document which puts it clearly that they want to eliminate, ideologically and physically, their opponents, surely you will then see who is responsible for the violence," he said.

Cde Sibanda urged all voters to go and vote for the Zanu-PF presidential candidate, President Mugabe, in the run-off set for June 27.

"Now each vote should be cast for Zanu-PF, for President Mugabe. He is the only representative of a sovereign Zimbabwe, a free people and, above all, to further the aims of our revolution and freedom for the people.

"Voting for President Mugabe will ensure the development of our health infrastructure, development of roads, education system and assurance of our food security," he said.

Cde Sibanda called for unity of purpose ahead of the presidential run-off.

"We need unity in the party among our membership, but the unity should be symbolised by the participation of each member on the ground," he said.

Cde Sibanda pledged his association’s support for President Mugabe in the run-off and said they would use all their resources to ensure victory for the Zanu-PF candidate.

"War veterans are a serious people, serious to defend the revolution, sovereignty and independence," he said, urging the people to go out and campaign with any resources they have in their possession.

"In a campaign, people are not posed to move forward by resources but on the country’s interests.

"Revolutionaries must realise that people are an enough and complete resource to move forward with the revolution. Any other material resource becomes an enabling factor."

Cde Sibanda expressed confidence that President Mugabe would turn around the tide against MDC-T presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai in the run-off.

"We are moving towards victory and looking forward for every Zimbabwean not only to pledge their votes but to cast them for the Zanu-PF candidate, President Mugabe, a revolutionary leader, visionary and person of impeccable integrity.

"President Mugabe is a man who stands not only for the sovereignty of Zimbabwe but of other peoples all over the world," he said.

Cde Sibanda said Zimbabweans should approach the presidential run-off with the knowledge that behind the secret ballot and vote is the blood of a freedom fighter.

"Voters should know that there are people who served time in prison for them to be able to vote and lives were sacrificed.

"People should know that it also means each vote is no longer secret, but a responsibility put in the hands of each Zimbabwean by pain and death so that we can preserve our being as blacks in our black Africa."

Officially launching the party’s campaign in Harare on Sunday, President Mugabe said the nation had seen for itself that reactionary elements were waiting in the wings to reverse the gains of independence and halt the empowerment of citizens.

He said this was evidenced by the manner in which white former farmers had threatened resettled black farmers when they thought the MDC-T had won the elections.

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