attempting to derail the country’s march towards complete economic recovery by trying to open up old wounds like the Gukurahundi issue.
He said the private media and leaders of other political parties were engaging in cheap politics of trying to reverse efforts by the national healing organ in uniting Zimbabweans by opening the Gukurahundi “wounds”.
In an interview in Mvuma on Saturday, Minister Mnangagwa who is also the Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs and one of the most senior party officials in the Midlands province, said there was need for the nation to move forward. Some privately owned media and political leaders demand that the Zanu-PF leadership should come out in the open and tell the nation the role it played in the Gukurahundi disturbances of the 1980s.
They accuse Zanu-PF and Minister Mnangagwa of taking a leading role in the Gukurahundi disturbances.
Minister Mnangagwa said the Unity Accord signed by President Mugabe (Zanu-PF) and the late Vice President and PF Zapu leader, Dr Joshua Nkomo in 1987 brought the nation together. This brought to an end the sorry chapter of Gukurahundi that led to the loss of many lives in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions.
He said there was no need for Zimbabweans to dwell on the sad past as this was retrogressive.
“The unity accord is a symbol of national unity. It was a profound and decisive initiative meant to reconcile the two revolutionary parties, Zanu- PF and PF Zapu. President Mugabe and Dr Nkomo reached a consensus. There is really nothing that Zanu-PF needs to be open about now because Dr Nkomo was also part of Zanu-PF,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa accused other political parties and the private media of misleading people.
“We do not want to undermine efforts by our national leaders to reunite the people. If we try to open healed wounds by discussing such issues, we will be undermining and failing to recognise the statesmanship exhibited by President Mugabe and his counterpart, Dr Nkomo when they signed the Unity Accord in 1987,” he said.
The Minister said political parties and other media houses that were making such misinformed utterances pertaining to the Gukurahundi issue were impeding the Government’s national healing process.
“The people who are very vocal on the Gukurahundi issue have selfish agendas. They want to divide the nation by making unfounded allegations,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said putting the name of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF into disrepute had always been the objective of foreign-funded political parties and media houses.
“Such utterances and claims are just barren efforts meant to soil Zanu-PF’s good record and its noteworthy achievements. Zanu-PF is the only revolutionary party that can claim to have brought about victory in the liberation struggle. No party apart from Zanu-PF can ever convince people that they played a part in the war of liberation,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa also castigated perpetrators of violence. He said such people should be rebuked.
The minister’s comments come in the wake of MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s call that his party followers should be violent.
Mr Tsvangirai said this while addressing his party followers at a rally in Masvingo recently.
Minister Mnangagwa said Mr Tsvangirai’s call for violence was a sign of cowardice.
“A true national leader cannot call for violence against his own people. Political leaders who call for violence lack patriotism as well as leadership credentials. We are a peaceful people in a peaceful country. Violence is a cruel way of forcing people to vote for you. There is no need for Zimbabweans to fight themselves as a way of persuading each other to vote for a certain party,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said people should vote peacefully so that they elect leaders of their choice.
He said the Government would ensure that there would be no violence during elections.
“Zvekurwa takarwa nevarungu zvikapera. Hapana anofanirwa kuvhotaachibuda ziya kana kumanikidzwa. (No one shall be forced to vote for any political party. We had enough of fighting when we waged the war of liberation to unseat our colonisers). Voting is not a privilege but a right for every Zimbabwean,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa scoffed at Mr Tsvangirai for challenging service chiefs to be actively involved in national politics.
He said Mr Tsvangirai’s attack on service chiefs was misguided. Minister Mnangagwa said Mr Tsvangirai should not challenge service chiefs to take sides or force them to be actively involved in politics.
He said Mr Tsvangirai should instead face the right people.
“Mr Tsvangirai does not understand the role of service chiefs or how they operate. Their role is to protect the nation as well as maintaining peace. The service chiefs helped the country to attain its independence, therefore Mr Tsvangirai must not speak like that about them. Only those that are enemies of the people and the nation can criticise or challenge our service chiefs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Mnangagwa said the closure of industries especially in Bulawayo as a result of the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe had caused public outcry also in the Midlands province.
He said the same problems facing industries in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces had equally affected businesses in other parts of the country, adding this had nothing to do with marginalisation.
Minister Mnangagwa said it was because of this realisation that Government had since set up a fund aimed at reviving the country’s industries that were either closing down or scaling down on production.
About US$3 billion is needed for the industrial revival programme.
“Under the fund, we are targeting industries that have been closed and those that are operating below capacity. The Government will in about two weeks time start disbursing the money to deserving industries. We expect industries to start operating at full throttle after the revitalisation exercise,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa was speaking on the sidelines of an event to distribute materials procured under the Constituency Development Fund to people in his Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe constituency.
He said the Government came up with a holistic approach of addressing the situation that was threatening to paralyse the country’s industries by directly injecting funds into the distressed companies.
Minister Mnangagwa said the programme would first benefit industries with a great potential of performing well.
“The exercise will be conducted nationally by the relevant ministries. We need to appreciate that the closure of industries in Matabeleland, the Midlands as well as other parts of the country affected the country’s economy as well as people’s livelihoods. The challenges have affected all regions in the country. There is therefore, need for Zimbabweans to unite and work together in the revival of our industries as well as other sectors of the economy,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said it would be unfair to single out a single province or region as lagging behind in terms of development as the whole country was affected by the same illegal sanctions. He said the economy was steadily recovering and Zimbabwe would soon be back on its feet.
“We cannot single out one province and say there is underdevelopment in that area when the economic challenges that we are facing are affecting the whole country. Development had just slowed down in most parts of the country due to the economic challenges,” he said.
The Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe legislator said the challenges did not detract Zanu-PF, as the party was not backtracking on its developmental plans.