President Robert Mugabe is expected to give a speech at the interface rally scheduled to be held in Gweru today.
Updates by Tinotenda Samukange and Blessed Mhlanga
Compilation and editing by John Mokwetsi
Mugabe is expected to visit Mambo Secondary School, where he was once a teacher in 1954, when it was still a primary school.
Roads leading to the venue of the rally, Mkoba open space, are said to have been repaired in preparation for leader’s visit.
NewsDay brings you live updates of the rally
Mugabe ends his speech, and that marks the end of our live updates. Thanks for being with us.
15:17 Mugabe responds to the claims that VP Mnangagwa allegedly ate poisoned ice cream from Gushungo Dairies owned by the Mugabe family.
“Zvirikungotaurwa nevanhu varikubvotomoka….”
Mugabe says it was found that Mnangagwa was not food poisoned, but he was suffering from diarrhoea, was vomiting and falling unconscious till he was powerless.
“Wakanga wakuenda murume uyu (this man was dying),”he says.
Mugabe says others said his brains were also getting disturbed.
15:10 As Mugabe drones on, giving a history lecture, apparently skirting the issues the youths have raised during their speeches, some people are leaving the venue through a backdoor exit.
Mugabe justifies violence on enemies by using the example of how Tshaka used sharp stabbing spears to kill the enemies.
15:00 Mugabe claims that after Mandela called for equality between whites and blacks,
blacks in South Africa have been reduced to work for the whites.
Bizarrely, there are hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa – most of them doing menial jobs- after fleeing Mugabe’s economic mismanagement
14:55 Mugabe launches another direct attack on the late former South African president, Nelson Mandela, accusing him of not negotiating for land for the blacks in South Africa.
Accuses the internationally acclaimed Mandela of selling South Africa to the whites in exchange for his personal freedom.
14:50 Mugabe launches an apparent attack on the Lacoste faction’s succession moves.
They maybe opponents, yes, but not witches. The party has principles that must be followed and those that fail to follow the rules cannot be bewitched but must be disciplined within the party
14:33 Mugabe is now speaking.
The aged leader has started his speech on an unusual, tired note, urging unity in the party and praising the Midlands province for organising such a huge rally.
14:30 Speaking at a faster pace, Grace makes a thinly veiled attack on VP Mnangagwa:
“If you see bad things happening to you don’t then turn around and say President Mugabe has bewitched me. President Mugabe thought all he wanted to do was to be a teacher but God had a bigger job for him
After Grace finishes speaking, it is announced that she has brought with her some ice cream from Gushungo Dairy!
14:20 Grace has turned into a preacher, quoting verse after verse, a speech that is unusual considering she is known for throwing tantrums aimed at percieved enemies.
14:10 Grace turns to the Bible verses to justify Mugabe’s long stay in power, saying the 93 year old leader was anointed by God to lead the country…
She refers Mugabe, whose middle name is Gabriel, as Muporofita Gabriel.
14:05: Grace Mugabe makes her first public address after her controversial incident in South Africa where she allegedly beat up a modal she had found in a hotel room with her sons.
Dressed in Zanu PF regalia, she is sounding unusually calm and collected.
14:00: Chipanga says they have launched a magazine that will have stories that bootlick Mugabe and his wife. Known for bootlicking Mugabe, Chipanga, this time likens Mugabe to God, quoting the Bible verse that says “You shall not have any other God,”Usave nekamwe kapresident kunze kwababa Mugabe, usave nekamwe kaFirst Lady kunze kwaAmai Mugabe”
13:40 Youth leader Kudzai Chipanga is now addressing and has hinted the party will soon be facilitating Mugabe rallies for students from all tertiary institutions across the country.
Chipanga also admits the party’s failure to create employment. “Employment irikunetsa kuHarare, saka mayouths akutoti paawana ipapo pekukorokoza otoshanda ipapo. (Employment is a problem in Harare so youths are now preferring to do artisanal mining)”
13:00 After Mugabe and his wife toured around the stadium in a police Land Rover truck greeting supporters, top officials gave their greetings before Youth League chair Prosper Machando began his his remarks.
12:17: Midlands State University’s Music department takes to the stage to perform a musical piece based on the Command Agriculture.
12:13: Joseph Made, Jacob Mudenda and Samuel Undenge have arrived.
12:09: President Robert Mugabe has arrived at the Gweru Information Community Center where he will officially open an Internet Cafe. The Ministry of ICT has so far opened Internet Cafes in various parts of the country.
12:00: “In Gweru we support President Mugabe only and not thieves,” said Mutukwe
11:56: Midlands youth political commissar Simba Mutukwe issues a stern warning against youths allegedly bussed from Harare who are reportedly wearing T-shirts bearing VP Emmerson Mnangangwa’s name. He said: “If you see anyone wearing a T-shirt bearing the VP’s name catch him.”
11:51: Mbare Chimurenga choir on stage. The gyrating is said to be so intensive and suggestive some have dubbed them the Zodwa Abantus of this country.
11:45: School buses, haulage trucks and Kombis are being used to ferry people to the rally. There are reports of vendors, university students and residents being forced to attend.
11:27: [9/1, 10:59] Tino Samukange: A Gweru based entertainer performs for the crowd. Minister of Indigenisation Patrick Zhuwao and Minister of Higher Education Jonathan Moyo are already at the venue.
10:58: High turnout at the venue of the Zanu PF rally in Gweru. People are coming from people different parts of the region.