'Land Must Be Yours Before I Can Retire'
The Herald (Harare)
20 June 2008
PRESIDENT Mugabe says he will only retire from office when he is satisfied that the land is truly and safely in the hands of the black majority. He also launched the first-ever people's shop at Gwelutshena Business Centre in Nkayi District, as the Government moved in to cushion citizens against wanton price increases.
Addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters at two rallies in Nkayi and Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, Cde Mugabe, who is Zanu-PF's candidate in the run-off election scheduled for June 27, said he had to ensure the legacy of returning land stolen by the British settlers to its rightful owners -- the black people -- before entertaining any thoughts of relinquishing power. "Vamwe vanoti iye Mugabe uyu, okungumdala lokhu akufuni kutshiya," he said amid laughter. "Ndakasiirwa basa. Handimbofa ndakabva until land yava mumaoko enyu."
Cde Mugabe said he could not allow sellouts to mortgage the country to its erstwhile coloniser, Britain. "I don't want to betray Umdala Wethu, Dr Joshua Nkomo, Cde Simon Muzenda, Nikita Mangena and others. That is why I am disappointed when people vote MDC. Linjani kanti bantu bakithi? "Once I am sure this legacy (of returning land to the blacks) is truly in your hands, people are empowered, nyika yava mumaoko edu pasina maBritish wanting to take over the land, then I can say: Aha, the work is now done."
Blood was shed for the liberation of the country from colonial bondage and, therefore, there was no way in which revolu-tionaries like himself could let Zimbabwe slip back into the hands of the British, who mai-med and killed the indigenous population for resisting colonisation. "I walk on this land. I farm on this land. I sleep on it. My house is built on it. Our children play on it. Our schools are built on it. "That is truly our number one legacy. Ndiyo nhaka yedu yekutanga. Haitengeswe, haitengeswe, please!" he said. "If I take a handful of sand from the ground like this, to me that is my treasure, it's from my land. It's not from Britain. It's Zimbabwean soil. That is our treasure. Regayi kutengesa (nyika). Tinga-tengese zvimwe but not our land. Ngiyacela! Ndinoku-mbirisisa!"
President Mugabe said June 27 2008 was an opportunity for all patriotic Zimbabweans to reject attempts to recolonise the country once and for all. "Zuva ra27 June izuva ratinosungirwa kuti titi kwete, kwete, mabhunu kwete. Never! Never! Never again shall Zimbabwe be a colony!" he said amid thunderous applause. "What kind of a people would we be to say the country should return into the hands of the British? We would reduce ourselves to be the laughing stock of the whole of Africa. Tinosekesa. Imi hamuoni kuti chimusangano ichi cheMDC chimusangano chekutengesa? Asigcineni ilifa lethu. Tibatisise. We give the land to the people. Please let the people remain united in the land, on the land, using the land." He said former freedom fighters told him that the defence of the country's independence, sovereignty and land from foreign threats was not an issue that could be left to an election process such as the one that will take place on June 27.
"The war veterans came to me and said: 'President we can never accept that our country which we won through the barrel of the gun, be taken merely by an 'x' made by a ballpoint pen.' "Zvino ballpoint pen ichirwisana neAK? Is there going to be a struggle between the two? Ipapo munoona kuchirwiwa zvakakomba. Asikana ma'x' achitevera nzira yakatarwa nepfuti? Is that alright? Liyekele ukuphikisana lombhobho. Tasunga-naka. Tohwina shudhu," said President Mugabe.
Cde Mugabe said that Zimbabweans should realise that Morgan Tsvangirai wanted to reverse the gains of independence and was clueless on policy and had no vision to steer the country to prosperity. He said when there was propaganda being bandied around that Tsvangirai had managed to garner enough votes to be declared President of Zimbabwe, white former commercial farmers started trooping back into the country to reclaim what they called "our land". "Vaiti tadzoka. Vachiti 'tavakutora mapurazi edu'. Vaiita izvi muzita reMDC nokuti MDC ndiwo musangano wavo, ndivo vakauvaka. The policy of the MDC is that it will reverse everything good that we have done. Vamwe pavakati Tsvangirai handei kuhondo, akatiza munzira, achidzoka. Akadududza. He reversed. Zvese zvakanaka anoda zvidududze. He must reverse everything like he reversed himself," said Cde Mugabe.
In Tsholotsho, traditional leaders and a group running a people's shop supported by Government where basic commodities are sold at affordable prices gave Cde Mugabe two goats in appreciation of his leadership of the country. Earlier in Nkayi, President Mugabe opened a people's shop, saying Government took the initiative to alleviate the suffering of the rural communities by bringing basic commodities to them through the people's shops. "This (people's shop) is the first of its kind in the whole of the country. The Government will assist by making available basic commodities and we have started distributing these to the communities. "This means that the prices will be within the reach of most of you," said President Mugabe, drawing applause from the big crowd.
He told the crowd at a rally after the opening that the move should not be taken as a vote-buying gimmick. "This is not meant to buy your vote, but the people will vote for the leader of a party which is a party for the people," said President Mugabe. "As the leadership of the party, we are concerned about your needs and we always do our best where we can." The President said cash problems could be overcome by engaging villagers in public works programmes. "We need to expand these public works programmes so that they can involve a sizeable number of people in the community. The money paid will have to be reviewed from time to time." He told the rally that the country was facing serious economic problems due to illegal sanctions imposed by Britain and her allies. "We are working hard towards alleviating some of the economic problems that the country is facing, but the problem is that we have some companies that are working against the Government," said President Mugabe. "The aim is to make the people revolt against me and the Government and vote for MDC, but if you vote for MDC it means our hard-won independence will go to waste."
President Mugabe said MDC-T was a British-sponsored party. Despite the economic hardships, the Government was doing its best to give assistance until total empowerment was achieved. President Mugabe, who is being challenged by Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T, urged the people of Nkayi to vote wisely on Friday next week. He said this was an election which would decide the fate of the country, as voting for the opposition would be a betrayal of the gains of independence. President Mugabe encouraged the people of Nkayi to be self-reliant by starting small to medium businesses, which would economically empower them. He told the gathering that they were fortunate in having Cde Sithembiso Nyoni as their MP because she was a champion of SMEs.
Thanking the President, Cde Nyoni told him that the people of Nkayi had not benefited from land reform, as they did not get farms. She said the district had a lot of livestock and people would like to venture into cattle ranching and goat rearing. The other problem, she said, was lack of a reliable water supply as two dams in the area had breached their walls during the last rainy season. Basic commodities worth billions of dollars, including bath and washing soap, cooking oil, sugar and salt, were then sold at gazetted prices yesterday.
http://www.talkzimb abwe.com/ news/117/ ARTICLE/2732/ 2008-06-19. html
Britain reneged on its obligations – Mugabe
Thu, 19 Jun 2008
PRESIDENT Mugabe has said that Britain is to blame for all the troubles bedeviling the country today because they reneged on their pledge to fund the land redistribution programme as agreed at the Lancaster House Conference in 1979 which paved way for a transitional constitution for an independent Zimbabwe.
Speaking during his election campaign in the second largest city of Bulawayo, the Zimbabwean veteran leader said although the Conservative Party led by Former British Prime Margaret Thatcher and later John Major agreed to fund the programme, the Labour government under Tony Blair reneged on the pledge through a letter written by one of Blair’s ministers, Claire Short.
President Mugabe was referring to a letter written by then Secretary of State (for International Development) , Claire Short, wrote to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Kumbirai Kangai.She said: “I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers.”
Almost immediately, Britain stopped payments for land reform.
At Lancaster House USA and Britain had promised £2 billion for land redistribution, yet by 1997 they had made payments of only £44 million in honouring their commitment. "The Labour Party did not want to co-operate with us. They reneged on the agreement. ‘We derive our own authority from our own principles, not the Conservative Party,’ they (the Labour government) said," said the President.
He also said that the government of Zimbabwe tried to reason diplomatically with Prime Minister Blair to continue making the land redistribution payments but they shut all doors."Then we said, keep your money, we keep our land. Why should they now cry foul?" President Mugabe also said his government taught the British democracy as there was no democracy in colonial times.
“We taught them the principle of one man, one vote which did not exist under Ian Smith,” he said adding that “Democracy also means self-rule, not rule by outsiders,” referring to Western interference in the affairs of the southern African country. President Mugabe also vowed that he will never let Zimbabwe go back to the colonials through the MDC-T party.
President Mugabe hailed Zimbabwe’s education system, saying it was the second best on the continent after Tunisia.
http://www.herald. co.zw/inside. aspx?sectid= 470&cat=1
Chissano blasts West over sanctions
Former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano has blasted Europe and the United States for being obsessed with attacking President Mugabe while Zimbabweans suffer. "We must think of the people who are suffering under an embargo-like situation. No one co-operates with Zimbabwe anymore," Mr Chissano told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published yesterday. "The Europeans and Americans are focusing too strongly on (President) Mugabe."
Mr Chissano said whether or not President Mugabe steps down after next week’s presidential run-off election against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was not as important as the need to rescue Zimbabwe’s economy, which has been crippled by illegal economic sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and their allies.
"Africans and the rest of the world must try to ensure that the election takes place peacefully and properly and appeal to the parties to respect the outcome. Then a new start must be made to improve the economic situation. For me, it is not important whether (Cde) Mugabe steps down, but whether there is a new start."
He told Sueddeutsche Zeitung heaping pressure on President Mugabe’s Government could be counter-productive. "The election is not over, so I cannot say yet whether (Cde) Mugabe must go. One must leave him the opportunity for dialogue. "Change that is brought about by pressure does not last. Whenever pressure has been exerted on Zimbabwe, the situation has worsened."
Meanwhile, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, whose supporters were behind post-election violence that killed almost 2 000 people in order to get into power, is parroting the Western stance on Zimbabwe by seeking to discredit the June 27 presidential election run-off.
On Tuesday, the Kenyan premier — who is understood to have given shelter to MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti during his self-imposed exile soon after the March 29 elections — said the international community should ask President Mugabe to step down and send peacekeepers to Zimbabwe to oversee free and fair elections there.
Odinga claimed the conditions in Zimbabwe were not conducive for a free and fair election, alleging the election had already been rigged. Odinga, who used violence to force President Mwai Kibaki into a power-sharing deal, criticised African leaders for failing to speak out against Zimbabwe ahead of the presidential run-off. But Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity Cde Bright Matonga yesterday said Odinga was not qualified to comment on Zimbabwe because he has not visited the country to see the situation on the ground.
"Normally, African protocol does not allow me to comment on statements made by a prime minister or a president but we respect him as a father-in-law because his sister went out with Cde Edgar Tekere. "He is a father-in-law. We would urge him to visit Zimbabwe first, sit down and chat with His Excellency President Mugabe. "After that meeting, he would be qualified to make informed comments on Zimbabwe."