Monday, February 21, 2011

Zimbabwe News Update: President Mugabe Celebrates 87th Birthday

Happy 87th birthday Mugabeism endures

Sunday, 20 February 2011 19:23
Zimbabwe Herald
By Farirai Chubvu

TODAY we celebrate the life of a man who has become the symbol of black economic empowerment throughout the developing world.
We have every reason, whether we are black or white, to join hands in wishing President Mugabe a happy 87th birthday, but will we?

The problem was summed up in a song by Sungura music maestro, Simon Chimbetu on his album, "African Panorama Chapter 1";
KuSakubva kwatinogara havauye;
KuChitungwiza kumusha yevanhu havasvike,
Patinorangarira magamba havauye;
Pachisangano pamisha yevanhu havasvike;
Kuregererana navo kwaramba;
Kutaurirana navo ah kwaramba;
Chidzorera mweya wegamba mundima

Loosely translated the stanza above deplores the behaviour of a certain section of Zimbabweans, both black and white, who do not mix with the rest of the people, neither do they share the nation's resolve for total independence.

They do not join the nation in commemorating national events, and their white counterparts, in their wisdom or lack of it, continue spurning the hand of reconciliation.

Chimbetu was bemoaning the separatist agenda pursued primarily by white Zimbabweans, and their black assimilados who feel they are post-modern and have nothing to do with history.

This is the underdeveloped petit bourgeoisie class plagued by intellectual and spiritual penury, which Franz Fanon interrogates in his book, "The Wretched of the Earth".

They are always conspicuous by their absence from national events such as Independence, Heroes and National Unity Day celebrations.

The only time they came out in full force was during the referendum on the draft constitution, the general elections in 2000 and the 2002 presidential plebiscite and all elections thereafter as they hoped to add to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai's vote tally pursuant to effecting regime change.

The white section hoped to influence events so as to preserve the skewed colonial land tenure system, the black compradors hoped to continue fronting for multinational corporations.

The Zimbabwean nation is a cosmopolitan nation, which cherishes the beauty of diversity, which upholds the virtues of nationhood for the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Unlike the South Africans whose concept of the rainbow nation acknowledges the sovereignty of separateness; the rainbow being a natural phenomenon formed by the dispersion of white light into seven distinct colour bands which do not mix, except at the perceptual level, each colour band, signifying a racial or ethnic group. When these colours are reflected simultaneously, however, they become a white beam connoting that South Africa is still a white nation.

As Zimbabweans, we aspire for an integrated society where people identify themselves as Zimbabweans first before looking at any other peculiarities.

This was the central theme in Prime Minister-elect, Robert Gabriel Mugabe's address to the nation on March 4 1980 as he proclaimed the policy of reconciliation: "I wish to assure you that there can never be any return to the state of armed conflict which existed before our commitment to peace and the democratic process of election under the Lancaster House Agreement.

Surely this is now time to beat our swords into plough-shares so we can attend to the problems of developing our economy and our society . . . I urge you, whether you are black or white, to join me in a new pledge to forget our grim past, forgive others and together, as Zimbabweans, trample upon racialism, tribalism and regionalism, and work hard to reconstruct and rehabilitate our society as we reinvigorate our economic machinery."

This was also the theme of his inauguration address, after he was sworn in on April 18, 1980 at Rufaro Stadium.

Thirty years, going for 31, after this historic statement, it is quite regrettable that the hand of reconciliation has still not been shaken by those to whom it was proffered, those who in fact wronged the majority and thus should be more conciliatory.

They have instead maintained the "laager" mentality and a holier than thou attitude, steeped in the old colonial policy of separate development.

We, however, take pride in the success of our national unity, which was brought about by the signing of the Unity Accord between the two revolutionary parties, PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF, on December 22, 1987.

We cherish our countrymen's resolve to refuse categorisation into ethnic groups, for this is what has wreaked most emergent African states.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda and Burundi, is a case in point, where people perished because they agreed to identify themselves as Hutus or Tutsis before identifying with the national interest.

As Zimbabweans we have a proud history of collective action in the face of adversity. The first Chimurenga wars in Mashonaland and Matabeleland in 1893, saw the country's two nationalities, the Shona-speaking and Ndebele-speaking people uniting to fight a common enemy.

Shona and Ndebele are national languages they are not tribes, and we should hammer this message to detractors at every opportunity.

After all the word tribe is a colonial construct, which was developed to divide and rule indigenous Zimbabweans. Why is it that there are no tribes in Europe or the United States? This is the question we should ask all detractors who want us to disabuse ourselves of nationhood.

When the Second Chimurenga broke out on April 27 1966, the seven gallant freedom fighters who fired the first shots were all from the two major nationalities, as was indeed the political parties Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu that waged the liberation war.

This unity of purpose was maintained right up to the attainment of independence on April 18, 1980. Detractors, however, tried to wreck this unity by sponsoring the Matabeleland and Midlands disturbances.

They still aim to capitalise on this period to get the indigenous people onto each other's throats, what we need to remember is that, being a Zimbabwean is not a matter of skin colour, but a matter of shared historical and cultural experiences as well as convergent aspirations.

Thus there are some black Zimbabweans who are not Zimbabwean at heart, the assimmilados or compradors who feel they have made it in life and have no time to "waste" in celebrating "mundane" events like the national holidays.

Granted this is a democratic country where every man is king of his castle, but we need to remember that without the sacrifice of the thousands of patriots who laid down their lives so that we could have ours; these castles we live in today would still be in the air.

These people have embraced the neo-liberal discourse, which holds that history is not a factor in the present or the future. The "modern man" is not supposed to live in the past they parrot, but they conveniently forget that the very lands that are foisting this ideology on the developing world still revere monarchies, and events that occurred as far back as the 12th century.

As a nation we should be thankful to President Mugabe for promoting national cohesion, economic empowerment and holistic independence.

Happy 87th birthday Cde President, your style of leadership has spawned Mugabeism which is set to take the developing world by storm.

President returns

Sunday, 20 February 2011 20:19
Herald Reporters

PRESIDENT Mugabe returned home yester-day from Singapore where he had gone for medical review.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was welcomed at the Harare International Airport by Vice President John Nkomo, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu, service chiefs and senior Government officials.

Presidential spokesman Mr George Charamba said opticians in Singapore removed a cataract in the President's eye during his annual leave and he had to fly back there for review.

President Mugabe returned home ahead of his birthday today and celebrations this weekend of the 21st February Movement, an organisation formed to impart values to the youths to emulate President Mugabe's exemplary life.

Committees tasked to organise the 21st February Movement celebrations say they are finalising their preparations and everything will be ready for the main event in Harare at the weekend.

The 21st February Movement is a non-profit movement.

Addressing journalists at Zanu-PF's party's headquarters in Harare on Friday, party secretary for youth Cde Absolom Sikhosana said private media reports that they were begging for money were unfounded.

"As a party with the people at heart, we understand that a majority of us, including corporates, are still facing economic challenges and we cannot therefore compel people to donate to us against their will.

"We are only a week away and I want to thank and congratulate the various organising committees for a sterling job.

"We are almost ready and have covered the necessary groundwork for a thunderous celebration," Cde Sikhosana said.

He said this year's theme is "Youths for Indigenisation and Empowerment".

"Zimbabweans have chosen economic independence as their next course of emancipation. Indigenous people of Zimbabwe should be economically empowered and independence is meaningless when your people are swimming in poverty," he said.

Cde Sikhosana urged all Zimbabweans to participate and emulate President Mugabe's leadership qualities despite political affiliation.

"I always view the MDC youths as prodigal sons who need to be corrected. They are Zimbabweans after all and should participate in the celebrations. This is not a Zanu-PF thing," he said.

Elections: President allays business fears

Friday, 18 February 2011 21:29
Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe has allayed fears raised by some sections of the business community that impending elections will disrupt their operations, pointing out that illegal Western sanctions pose a greater threat to the economy than polls.

President Mugabe said this in an interview on ZTV programme TalkingBusiness on Thursday.

"Business always have fears, some of them are ill-placed. Actually, it is the sanctions that have undermined their capability, ability, and in the process capacity to undertake the production that the enterprises are meant to.

"They have had shortages, they have had equipment whi-ch has lacked spare parts and raw materials from outside they used to get which is in short supply.

"Over time, therefore, you have this depreciation or redu-ction in their capacity everywhere and, yes, we explain in political terms that it is as a result of the sanctions imposed by the West.

"But business would like to see it as a result of the conflict we had in 2008," he said.

The President said differences in policies among the main political parties made it difficult to remain with an inclusive Government.

"What does business want us to do? Go on and on and on as we are? And for that matter they think we are united in spirit. No, we are physically united, conveniently, expediently united so we can put together an exercise or a process to see us to elections.

"You cannot have a Government of parties whose policies are in contradiction to each other. It is untenable completely untenable. You suppress your antagonisms, hostilities and if you can suppress them and actually kill them well, well and good . . .

"We belong to a party that has its own policies, the MDC has its own polices and these policies do not merge, do not gel."

He said his party felt it would better implement its policies without the other formations.

"We must have elections in the normal situation where we do not have disturbances. Elections come once in five years.

"It will be remembered that our elections of 2008 were judged as having been preceded by violence, the voting itself was not violent, there were cases of violence but it was not overall violence as you get in other States.

"But this was played up so much that even our friends thought that we should re-do the exercise.

"In other words, organise yourselves, Sadc said, and do your elections again. So we are in the GPA to re-do our elections. We are on a vehicle that should lead us to elections."

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said the stability brought about by the inclusive Government could be short-lived given the differences among the parties.

"It can only last for a short time and sooner or later we will have people fighting each other in the inclusive Government where there are contradictory factors.

"I do not think business is right in its understanding and appreciation of our situation. I think they should realise that policies should be uniform and we do not have uniformity of policies," he said. President Mugabe said Zimbabwe would survive despite the illegal Western sanctions.

"We will continue to move as Zimbabweans and try our best to get things going, which we have tried to do. They (the West) are hostile and they want regime change but we say Zimbabwe belongs to Zimbabweans and it is Zimbabweans who have the right to determine who shall be their ruler and the right to determine their future . . . not those from outside," he said.

President Mugabe said WikiLeaks had exposed MDC-T for providing information on the nature and form of sanctions and this vindicated calls for an early election.

"The question arises, for how long do we go on side-by-side with people who are subversive elements to the nationhood of Zimbabwe?"

The President said the matter would be discussed at the appropriate time.

"We have not talked about them (the WikiLeaks revelations) but we will be talking about them in the future. We have our own fora, the (National) Security Council, and some of those things would be talked about in those fora," he said.

President Mugabe said the indigenisation programme would be expedited this year.

"It is really at its initial stage and people should not expect that the preparatory stage will yield much.

"But this year we see gigantic steps being taken and we must see ourselves in positions of control, in positions of ownership of the whole economy; in the mining sector, in manufacturing and commerce.

"We should be the main players. Wherever we have enterprises, those enterprises should by and large be manned by Zimbabweans.

"It's not that we should not have people from other nationalities or outside, no, we can have partners or joint ventures but they should never be seniors," President Mugabe said.

He said non-indigenous people would only be considered for majority ownership in crucial industries where the country did not have expertise.

President Mugabe explained that the Ziscosteel deal was one such example.

"Zisco had a huge debt, I thought it was about US$500 million but they have told me it is beyond that, and this company (Essar) said it would take over that debt and it was that consideration that we said this company would get 54 percent," he said.

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