Farirai Machivenyika in Chimanimani
The First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday launched a scathing attack on Zanu-PF members fanning factionalism and urged them to direct their energies on delivering on the mandate bestowed upon them by the electorate in the 2013 harmonised elections.
Addressing over 8 000 Zanu-PF supporters at Mutambara Mission in Chimanimani, the First Lady — who is also the revolutionary party’s Secretary for Women’s Affairs — outlined Government’s economic blueprint Zim-Asset, emphasising the need for the country to be food secure.
“We say no to factionalism. Whoever is engaging in factionalism, must stop it!” she said to thunderous applause.
“As leaders, we must not abuse our powers because the people will be watching. They are not fools.”
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The First Lady said those engaging in factional fights risked being exposed like former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru.
“We came from the people and we must perform to their expectations. That is why I am imploring those involved in factionalism to stop it! Let’s be content with our positions in the party and understand that we were appointed to serve the people. We cannot continue engaging in factionalism at the expense of fulfilling the mandate we got from the electorate in 2013.”
She said the fight among the Zanu-PF leadership in Manicaland over the venue of her visit was unnecessary since she could not hold her meeting at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare as she had held another rally there last year.
Amai Mugabe said as the First Lady, she had the responsibility to visit all places countrywide.
She urged Zanu-PF members to take advantage of the chaos in the MDC formations to strengthen the party.
Turning to Zim-Asset programmes, Amai Mugabe said Government had crafted policy measures to improve people’s livelihoods and urged people to fully utilise opportunities availed to them, especially land.
She said Zim-Asset was premised on four key clusters: Food Security and Nutrition, Social Services and Poverty Eradication, Infrastructure and Utilities and Value-Addition and Beneficiation.
Government had since independence provided resources and infrastructure to the people so that they could empower themselves, but the illegal sanctions imposed by the West in retaliation to the fast-track land reform programme had hampered efforts to provide for everyone.
She added that every Cabinet Minister had been assigned duties to ensure the successful implementation of Zim-Asset.
Amai Mugabe urged people to fully utilise the land allocated to them under the land reform programme and said she supported the proposed land audit so that idle farms could be identified.
“I’ll continue pressing for a land audit to see whether you are using the land given to you productively. If you can’t be honest and let those who can use the land do so. Do not hold on to resources that you cannot use.”
She said Zimbabwe was privileged to have a principled leader like President Mugabe who valued the importance of people taking ownership of their resources.
“President Mugabe knows why he is on the throne. He understands that he is the custodian of the country. That is why he is not worried about sanctions, but about protecting the country’s heritage.”
Amai Mugabe also defended Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge against criticism from some quarters that he was behind the current shortage of electricity being experienced in the country.
The low water levels in Kariba Dam, and problems at Hwange, were the main reason for the current massive power cuts but added that Government was doing its best to rectify the problem, she said.
She thanked people from Manicaland for remaining steadfast behind Zanu-PF and President Mugabe saying the province had played an important role since the liberation struggle.
The province contributed the most cadres who fought in the liberation because of its proximity to Mozambique and had remained behind the ruling party since 1980 when the country attained its independence.
The rally was also attended by Vice President Phelekhezela Mphoko and several ministers, senior Zanu-PF officials from across the country, traditional leaders and a visiting delegation from Mozambique’s ruling party Frelimo.