PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday called on Zanu PF supporters to roll up their sleeves against an alleged onslaught from Western countries that he said want to weaken liberation movements in the region.

Mnangagwa made the comments weeks after South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid in last month’s elections.

The ANC is now engaged in talks with opposition parties to form a unity government in order for it to remain in power.

Addressing the ruling party’s politburo meeting in Harare, Mnangagwa urged Zanu PF supporters to remain vigilant “in the face of the neo-imperial machinations of our country’s detractors”.

“Lessons and emerging trends against former liberation movements within and beyond the region are stark reminders of the sustained hegemonic tendencies of our erstwhile colonisers,” the 81-year-old ruler said.

“We must raise the political consciousness of our membership to defend our country, independence and territorial integrity, now and into the future.”

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Mnangagwa said foreign funding for humanitarian support was being offered with strings attached such as supporting same sex marriages.

“It is a shame and disgrace that foreign funding for humanitarian support and related programmes is being used to clandestinely advance practices that are alien to our culture, values and norms,” he said.

“Zimbabwe will never accept any foreign support that has conditionalities that seek to defile and denigrate our national character, values and beliefs.

“As Zanu PF and African people, we reject the imposition of alien identities as well as cultures. We continue to hold sacred our African morals, values and traditions.

“These shape identity, as well as dignity as a sovereign and independent people.”

Mnangagwa also called for unity in the party amid factional battles over his bid to extend his term beyond 2028 to 2030.

“Differences in opinion and approaches among a few must never derail the course of our party's overall objective to realise economic growth, prosperity for all and a higher quality of life for our people,” he said.

There is resistance within the party to Mnangagwa’s term extension.

Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament after a strong showing by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) then led by Nelson Chamisa in last year’s elections, which were condemned by international observer missions, including the Sadc one, as not meeting regional standards.

Soon after the elections Sengezo Tshabangu emerged from nowhere and recalled elected CCC representatives saying he was the party’s interim secretary-general.

Tshabangu is now said to be among those in the opposition that are supporting Mnangagwa’s bid to hang on to power.