NO LEADERSHIP CHANGE IN ZANU-PF President defends VP Mnangagwa, denounces divisions
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday said Zanu-PF will not change its top leadership based on unsubstantiated allegations, most of them sponsored by external forces seeking to cause divisions in the revolutionary party.
He was addressing a solidarity meeting of war veterans at the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare.
He called for unity and dialogue wherever there were differences and contradictions.
The President’s remarks followed a suggestion by acting chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association Cde Mandiitawepi Chimene that the Head of State and Government should replace one of his deputies, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The solidarity meeting came in the wake of a treasonous communiqué clandestinely issued to the media by a clique of war veterans denouncing President Mugabe’s leadership last week.
Cde Chimene said that Vice President Mnangagwa was fanning factionalism in the party by allegedly leading a faction in Zanu-PF called Team Lacoste.
Instead, President Mugabe urged war veterans and party supporters not to rush to conclusions before gathering concrete evidence.
He said the freedom fighters should know that the enemy was tirelessly working through covert avenues to divide Zanu-PF. “We shall keep together at the top,” said President Mugabe. “We shall remain united. We know that accusations will continue to be made, allegations naturally, some true, some false but Zanu-PF knows how to settle its contradictions. In our view let us not accuse anyone of leading a faction when we don’t have evidence. Give it time. You must be mindful of the fact that our enemies want to divide the party, abusing our names. The truth shall come out but let’s be vigilant.”
Added President Mugabe: “During the liberation struggle we learnt a lot from China during Mao’s time on how they would solve internal differences. The Chinese sit down and discuss with squabbling parties, giving their ideas. Those ideas that conform to the party ideology will be taken on board. That’s how contradictions were settled in China. That’s how we were settling them also in our camps outside the country. Let’s not fight each other. We don’t want war. We don’t want violence.”
President Mugabe said it was the duty of the party leadership to denounce those fomenting divisions.
“If accused, it’s also up to us to tell the people that the accusations are false,” he said.
“You give them the correct position and keep them informed. We don’t want to be divided. That’s what we don’t want. I don’t like it. We want to keep together but it’s our duty to denounce this together, to denounce these developments together outrightly and not to hesitate so the people continue to have total confidence in us.”
As the party started preparations for 2018 elections, President Mugabe said unity at all levels of the party was crucial.
“So let’s keep together and help us also with your unity at the base,” he said.
“The unity of Zanu-PF in the provinces and I want to thank the provincial chairpersons who are here. Your unity is crucial because that is the basis of the whole party.
“We can’t talk of a united party when the provinces are not united. We can’t talk also of a united party when the wings of the party – the Youth League, the Women’s League – when these are not united. So the unity of the party is crucial and I’m glad that so far, we have maintained that unity and I hope that we shall maintain it until 2018.”
Commenting on the treasonous communiqué, President Mugabe said those behind it would be punished ruthlessly.
“The party has set up a team to investigate that statement, so that they tell us who wrote it and those who distributed it around so that the culprits are punished and the party’s punishment is hard,” said President Mugabe.
“We had rebels during the liberation struggle. We punished them. We detained some of them in pits and we used to feed them while they were down there. We never killed them but we held them underground, feeding them. We released them when we and the British agreed that they be released just before independence in 1980.”
President Mugabe said Zanu-PF was a strong party with a long history that could not be destroyed through a piece of paper christened as a communiqué by rogue elements. He reminded detractors that his power derived from the people.
He thanked war veterans and other members of the party for showing him their unconditional support.
Part of the crowd that converged at the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare yesterday