George Maponga in Masvingo
Zimbabwe is a unitary state and anyone who harbours plans to secede or partition the country along tribal lines is possessed by spirits and day-dreaming, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday.
The Vice President, who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said Zimbabweans were supposed to live together in peace and harmony despite conflicts and fights of the past.
Speaking on the fourth leg of countrywide constitutional advocacy meetings organised by his ministry that was attended by representatives from the civic society, churches, traditional leaders, members of the business community and ordinary people across Masvingo, VP Mnangagwa said the Constitution clearly stated that Zimbabwe is a unitary state.
“Let us enjoy and cherish our heritage as Zimbabweans because we got this country from God without even asking for it. We are one unitary country from Zambezi to Limpopo and Chipinge to Plumtree although we have more tribes and up to 16 official languages,’’ he said.
“Anyone who dreams of partitioning this country along tribal lines or whatever means is possessed by Legion (biblical man possessed by many spirits). Zimbabwe is one country,’’ he added.
He said it was normal to sometimes clash and have differences but emphasised the need to always seek peaceful resolution of conflicts as citizens of one nation.
VP Mnangagwa said it was wrong to describe the redistribution of white-held farms by landless blacks at the height of farm invasions as chaotic and violent.
He stressed that there was no school or institution of higher learning that taught people the best way to reclaim land stolen from their forefathers by colonisers.
“There is no textbook that teaches people how to take their land. It is unfortunate that when some talk of our land reform programme, they describe it as chaotic and riotous but the world over I have never heard of a formula used by people to repossess their heritage,’’ VP Mnangagwa said. Zimbabweans waged a war of liberation with one of their major goals being to gain control and supremacy of their God-given land most of which in white minority hands.
“If there is any Zimbabwean among us who is unhappy that we took our land from the minority whites and gave it to the black majority then, it is that person’s problem because most of our people are happy.
“White people in England or any other country who get angry when the people of Zimbabwe take back their land and share it among themselves are sick,’’ he said.
Vice President Mnangagwa said although the Constitution states that traditional leaders should be apolitical, they still reserved the right to make political decisions based on their choices. He said traditional leaders had the right to choose a political leader and party whose policies dovetailed with their wishes and aspirations.
He warned political leaders against oppression saying they were actually servants of people who elected them into office.
Speaking at the same gathering, Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira said the practice of marrying off girls as young as 12 years was alien to Zimbabwean culture.
Chief Charumbira said traditional leaders were opposed to marriage of girls under the age of 18. He appealed to Vice President Mnangagwa to make sure Government provides food assistance to villagers following drought in the last farming season.
The meeting was attended by top Government and Zanu-PF officials among them Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa, Justice and Legal Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza and provincial administrator Mr Felix Chikovo.