Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Speech by Republic of Zimbabwe President Robert G. Mugabe, Delivered on Sunday November 19, 2017, Two Days Before His Formal Resignation: 'Our Whole Nation At All Levels Gets Refocused'
November 21, 2017
Zimbabwe Herald

To watch this national address by Republic of Zimbabwe President Robert G. Mugabe on Sunday November 19, 2017 at State House in Harare just click on the website below:

FELLOW Zimbabweans.

I address you tonight on the back of a meeting I held today with the nation’s security forces’ Command Element. This meeting, which was facilitated by a mediating team led by Father Fidelis Mukonori (S.J.) of the Catholic Church, followed an operation mounted by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in the week that has gone by, and which was triggered by concerns arising from their reading of the state of affairs in our country and in the ruling Zanu-PF Party. Whatever the pros and cons of the way they went about registering those concerns, I, as the President of Zimbabwe, and as their Commander-in-Chief, do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe that these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people.

As I address you, I am also aware of a whole range of concerns which have come from you all as citizens of our great country, and who thus deserve our untrammelled attention.

Today’s meeting with the Command Element has underscored the need for us to collectively start processes that return our nation to normalcy, so all our people can go about their business unhindered, in an environment of perfect peace and security, assured that law and order obtain and prevail as before, and endure well into the future.

If there is any one observation we have made and drawn from the events of the past week, it is the unshakeable pedestal upon which rests our state of peace, law and order, amply indicating that as Zimbabweans we are generally a peaceably disposed people, and with a given-ness to expressing our grievances and to resolving our differences by ourselves, and with a level of dignity, discipline and restraint so rare to many other nations. This is to be admired. Indeed such traits must form the pith of our national character and personality, and yes, a veritable resource we summon and draw upon in times of vicissitudes.

The operation I have alluded did not amount to a threat to our well-cherished constitutional order. Nor was it a challenge to my authority as Head of State and Government. Not even as Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. To the man, the Command Element remained respectful, and comported with the dictates and mores of constitutionalism. True, a few incidences may have occurred here and there, but these are being corrected.

I am happy that throughout the short period, the pillars of the State remained functional. Even happier for me and arising from today’s meeting is a strong sense of collegiality and comradeship now binding the various arms of our security establishment. This should redound to a greater peace, and author an abiding sense of security in communities and our entire nation.

Among the issues discussed is that relating to our economy which, as we all know, is going through a difficult patch. Of greater concern to our Commanders are the well-founded fears that the lack of unity and commonness of purpose in both Party and Government was translating into perceptions of inattentiveness to the economy.

Open public spats between high-ranking officials in the Party and Government, exacerbated by multiple, conflicting messages from both the Party and Government, made criticisms leveled against us inescapable. Amidst all this, flagship projects already adopted by Government stood stalled or mired in needless controversies.

All this now has to stop, as we inaugurate a new work culture and pace which will show a strong sense of purpose and commitment to turning around our economy in terms of our policy, Zim-Asset. Government remains committed to improving the social and material conditions of the people. Government will soon unveil an entrepreneurial skills and business development programme which will empower and unleash gainful projects at our growth points and rural areas.

Fellow Zimbabweans, we are a nation born out of a protracted struggle for national independence. Our roots lie in that epochal struggle whose goals and ideals must guide our present and structure our future. The tradition of resistance is our collective legacy whose core tenets must be subscribed by all across generations and across times.

Indeed, this, too, was a great concern for our Commanders who themselves were makers of that revolution and often at very tender ages and at great personal peril. We still have in our various communities veterans of that founding struggle who might have found the prevailing management of national and party issues quite alienating.

This must be corrected without delay, including ensuring that these veterans continue to play central roles in the life of our nation. We must all recognise that their participation in the war of liberation exacted life-long costs which whilst hardly repayable, may still be assuaged and ameliorated.

In respect of the Party issues raised by both the Commanders and by the general membership of Zanu-PF, these, too, stand acknowledged. They have to be attended to with a great sense of urgency. However, I am aware that as a party of liberation, Zanu-PF, has over the years, written elaborate rules and procedures that guide operations of all its organs and personnel.

Indeed, the current criticism raised against it by the Command Element and some of its members have arisen from a well-founded perception that the Party was stretching or even failing its own rules and procedures. The way forward thus cannot be based on swapping vying cliques that ride roughshod over Party rules and procedures. There has to be a net return to the guiding principles of our Party, as enshrined in its constitution, which must apply fairly and equitably in all situations and before all members. The era of victimisation and arbitrary decisions must be put behind us as we all embrace a new ethos predicated on the supreme law of our Party, and nourished by an abiding sense of camaraderie.

To all this must be a general recognition that Zanu-PF is a party of traditions, and has been served by successive generations who are bound together by shared ideals and values which must continue to reign supreme in our nation. Hints of inter-generation conflict must be resolved through a harmonised melding of old, established players as they embrace and welcome new ones through a well-defined sense of hierarchy and succession.

Indeed, all these matters will be discussed and settled at the forthcoming Congress, within the framework of a clear roadmap that seeks to resolve once and for all any omissions or contradictions that have affected our Party negatively. The Congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise its outcome in the eyes of the public.

As I conclude this address, I am aware that many developments have occurred in the Party, or have been championed and done by individuals in the name of the Party. Given the failings of the past and the anger these might have triggered in some quarters, such developments are quite understandable.

However, we cannot be guided by bitterness or vengefulness, both of which would not make us any better Party members, or any better Zimbabweans. Our hallowed policy of reconciliation which we pronounced in 1980, and through which we reached out to those who had occupied and oppressed us for nearly a century, and those we had to trade fire with in a bitter war, surely cannot be unavailable to our own both in the Party and in our nation. We must learn to forgive and resolve contradictions, real or perceived, in a comradely, Zimbabwean spirit.

I am confident that from tonight, our whole nation at all levels, gets refocused as we put shoulder to wheel amidst the promising agricultural season already upon us. Let us all move forward, reminding ourselves of our wartime mantra: Iwe neni tine basa!

I thank you and goodnight!

This was the address to the nation by His Excellency the President, Cde R.G. Mugabe, on the State of the Nation, November 19, 2017.

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