Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE late former President Cde Robert Mugabe will be remembered for the bold and historic land reform programme which he undertook to empower the people of Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF deputy national secretary for the Women’s League, Cde Angeline Masuku, has said.
In an interview yesterday, Cde Masuku, who is also the former Minister of State for Bulawayo, praised Cde Mugabe for spearheading the land reform programme, during which land owned by the minority white farmers was redistributed to black Zimbabweans.
“We can’t ignore the fact that through this programme, indigenous Zimbabweans gained their long denied land rights to complete their sovereignty. This is an achievement that Cde Mugabe will be remembered for.
“He was a bold and brave leader, who stood firm for the rights of his people. The decision that he took empowered a lot of black people in the country, who now own land,” said Cde Masuku.
She said she started working with Cde Mugabe after the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 and when she was appointed Minister of State for Matabeleland South province.
“During the liberation struggle, I worked with the late Vice President Cde Joshua Nkomo. I started working with Cde Mugabe after the signing of the Unity Accord when I was among the 10-member committee that was supposed to oversee the implementation of the Unity Accord.
“The 10-member committee included five from Zanu and five from Zapu and I was one of those from Zapu. I worked closer with him when I became Matabeleland South Governor,” said Cde Masuku.
She described Cde Mugabe as a listening leader who was concerned about his people and the empowerment of women.
“He was a listening leader although he would fulfil some of the promises while others he didn’t. This is evidenced by the number of projects that were not completed while he was still in power.
“He appreciated the existence of women and always emphasised on programmes to empower them.
“Although the country has not reached the 50/50 representation in all sectors, I want to believe that Cde Mugabe really pushed the agenda and left us at a different level. We thank him for that,” said Cde Masuku.
She added that although Cde Mugabe was no longer in power, the nation had lost a father who was going to give its leaders advice through his wisdom.
“We’ve indeed lost a father as a nation. The truth is that those who are older are wiser.
“We were hoping, through his wisdom and experience, he would advise the leadership and give them guidance even if he was not in leadership,” said Cde Masuku.
In her condolence message to the Mugabe family, Cde Masuku said it was not only them who had lost but the whole nation because Cde Mugabe empowered his people through the land reform and other programmes.
“The family has lost but the nation has lost as well. He was a father not only to his family but to the country. May his soul rest in peace,” she said. — @pamelashumba1