Tendai Mugab, Harare Bureau
President Mugabe has admitted that there is a crisis in the country and concerns raised by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and citizens relating to the state of the economy are genuine.
In a televised State of the Nation address at State House last night, President Mugabe said Zimbabwe would now chart a new path aimed at restoring normalcy in the country.
His address followed a meeting he held with military commanders yesterday that focused on several issues both at Government and party levels.
President Mugabe, who was flanked by the service chiefs, admitted that Zanu-PF was also facing challenges that required attention that would be dealt with at the forthcoming Extra-Ordinary Congress that he said he would preside over.
“As I address you, I am also aware of a whole range of concerns which have come from you all citizens of our great country, and which thus deserve our untrammeled attention,” he said.
“Today’s meeting with the Command element has underscored the need for us to collectively start processes that return our nation to normalcy, so all our people can go about their business unhindered, in an environment of perfect peace and security, assured that law and order obtain and prevail as before, and ensure well into the future.”
President Mugabe continued: “Among the issues discussed is that relating to our economy which, as we all know is going through a difficult patch. Of greater concern to our Commanders are the well-founded fears that the lack of unity and commonness of purpose in both the party and Government was translating into perceptions of inattentiveness to the economy.
“Open public spats between high-ranking officials in the party and Government, exacerbated by multiple, conflict messages from the party and Government, made the criticisms levelled against us inescapable. Amidst all this, flagship projects already adopted by Government stood stalled or mired in needless controversies. All this now has to stop, as we inaugurate a new work culture and pace which will show a strong sense of purpose and commitment to turning around the economy in terms of our policy, ZimAsset.
“Government remains committed to improving the social and material conditions of the people. Government will soon unveil an entrepreneurial skills and business development programme which will empower and unleash gainful projects at our growth points and rural areas.”
President Mugabe said all issues raised concerning the party would be attended to.
“In respect of the party issues raised both by the Commanders and by the general membership of Zanu-PF, these, too stand acknowledged,” he said.
“They have to be attended to with greater sense of urgency. However, I am aware that as a party of liberation, Zanu-PF, has over the years, written elaborate rules and procedures that guide the operations of all its organs and personnel. Indeed the current criticism raised against it by the Command element and some of its members have arisen from a well-founded perception that the party is stretching or even failing its own rules.
“There has to be a net return to the guiding principles of our party, as enshrined in its constitution, which must apply fairly and equitably in all situations and before all members. The era of victimisation and arbitrary decisions must be put behind us as we all embrace a new ethos predicated on the supreme law of our party, and nourished by an abiding sense of camaraderie.
“To all this must be a general recognition that Zanu-PF is a party of traditions, and has been served by successive generations who are bound together by shared ideals and values which must continue to reign supreme in our nation. Hints of inter-generation conflict must be resolved through a harmonised fusing of old, established players as they embrace and welcome new ones through a well-defined sense of hierarchy and succession.
“Indeed all these matters will be discussed and settled at the forthcoming Congress, within the framework of a clear roadmap that seeks to resolve once and for all any omissions or contradictions that have affected our party negatively. The Congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or to compromise its outcomes in the eyes of the public.”
President Mugabe said it should be cherished that Zimbabwe was born out of a protracted liberation struggle and heroes of that war should be remembered and taken care of.
Commenting on the intervention by the ZDF to contain a potentially volatile situation in the country President Mugabe said: “The operation I alluded to did not amount to a threat to our well-cherished constitutional order. Nor was it a challenge to my authority as Head of State and Government. Not even as Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. To the man, the Command element remained respectful, and comported with the dictates and mores of constitutionalism.”