A defiant but subdued President Robert
Mugabe Monday bemoaned divisions rocking his Zanu PF party and castigated United States and the European Union (EU) for not being sincere over re-engaging Zimbabwe.
Mugabe appealed to the several Zanu PF factions to unite, and also said that the process of national healing and reconciliation is not meant to punish the perpetrators of violence.
MDC-T has said perpetrators of violence must be brought to book. “For the sake of our children and posterity, I want to urge all of you to note that the process of reconciliation is national. It does not seek to ferret out supposed criminals for punishment but rather calls on all of us to avoid the deadly snare of political conflict,” Mugabe said.
The Zanu PF leader railed against internecine conflict in his party ranks, and blasted infighting in the war veterans’ ranks, calling for unity between former Zipra and Zanla combatants jostling to take over from Mugabe.
“Zanla and Zipra, the guerilla fighters, are now torn apart. This group belongs to so and so. That group is on its own and yet that other group. But you are bound together by the struggle you fought, you are bound together by the commitment that you have to the nation,” he said.
“Look at your history and then examine where you are now. I appeal to you to talk together, sit down and discuss your differences. We want to deal with you together. We don’t want to deal with groups.”
Mugabe told the gathering, which included Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, that his attempts to engage the West have been rebuffed — making no reference to his recent outburst against Western Europe and the United States.
Mugabe referred to the strained foreign relations in a speech yesterday commemorating the country’s fallen heroes.
He said he sought to engage the US and EU to get them to remove sanctions against his regime, but found they kept “shifting goalposts”.
Mugabe last week told the Western countries to “go to hell, hell, hell” while burying his sister Sabina at the national shrine, after claiming that they interfered in the country’s political affairs. He said the US and EU were wrong and urged them to “think again”.
“We have sought to re-engage the EU on the issue of the immediate removal of the evil sanctions that are hurting our people. We seek friendship not enmity, togetherness not apartness, good understanding not division,” said Mugabe.
“But no sooner had we started the re-engagement than we realised that the EU is far from being sincere, as the bloc keeps shifting goalposts. The US and EU are keen to have our people continue suffering under the evil sanctions.
“We appeal to them to please think again. Think again Europe, think again America, you are wrong.
“We want to deal with people who are sincere, who are honest and purposeful,” he said amid cheers from party supporters.
Mugabe said there was no basis for sanctions and called on Zimbabweans to speak against them with one voice.
Although Mugabe did not attack the West, banners and placards placed around the National Heroes’ Acre had messages meant for the West.
One of the banners read: “Go to hell, hell, hell, hell,” reaffirming Mugabe’s outburst at the national shrine last week, which resulted in a walkout by some diplomats.
Another banner read: “Zimbabwe is not owned by Europe and USA,” while another one read: “Leave our diamonds alone”.
“Chamunoda munyika yedu chii (What is your interest in our country)?. . .Hamusati mambonzwa tichiti tinoda kutonga, kutonga kwenyu,tinoda mapurazi enyu (You have never heard us saying we want to rule your countries and take your farms),” Mugabe said.
Mugabe said the West should appreciate that when they were invited for partnership in the exploration of minerals, that did not mean they should take over the resources, but rather that they would be paid for the service.
“It is our conviction that the new constitution, which we want to reflect the people’s views, will help us realise the full meaning of our freedom and Independence,” he said.
“The constitution-making process should entrench those principles that fully democratise the socio-economic and political space that our people enjoy, which is the ultimate goal for which our heroes paid the supreme sacrifice.”
Mugabe said the inclusive government’s implementation of the Global Political Agreement had been “beyond reproach,” citing the establishment of independent commissions as an example.
He said the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission would be sworn in soon.Heroes’ Day commemorations were held in provincial centres across the country.