PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says he will represent cross-sectional interests, standing for the rights and aspirations of all Zimbabweans.
His remarks follow an edgy period in domestic politics that saw the highly divisive G40 cabal channel factionalism, regionalism and tribalism; in addition to fuelling cronyism that drove alleged criminal activity by a few elites.
Cde Mnangagwa, who was endorsed as Zanu-PF President and First Secretary and the party’s Presidential candidate for the 2018 harmonised elections, preached unity at his inauguration on 24 November.
He continued on this note at the Zanu-PF’s Extraordinary Congress in Harare last Friday, saying: “I urge the party to introspect and self-adjust in conformity with the principles, mores and genes of Zanu-PF.
“In this regard, Article 2 (Section 14) of our party’s constitution outlines the aims and objectives of our party as inter alia being ‘to oppose resolutely tribalism, regionalism, nepotism, corruption, racism, religious fanaticism, xenophobia and related intolerance, discrimination on the grounds of sex and all forms of exploitation of man by man in Zimbabwe.
“In line with this instruction, therefore, my ascendance to the helm of the party must never be interpreted as a defeat of one faction and installation of another.
“My Presidency should not be perceived as a rise in the fortunes of a region, or a tribe or a totem, no. My Presidency is about a united Zanu-PF, a national party with a national outlook.”
The President said he would unite all Zimbabweans under the national flag and around the national anthem.
“I stand before you, therefore, as the President of a united, non-racial Zimbabwe, itself home to many tongues, dialects, cultures, colours, age groups.
“I am a President of women and men; the young and the old; the able-bodied and the physically-challenged; the rich and the poor; the well and the sick. I am an emissary of all the veterans and heroes, dead or alive, who through their blood sketched the cause and mission which my Presidency must promote, must actualise and advance.
“I am a President for Ndebeles, Shonas, Zezurus, Ndaus, Karangas, Manyikas, Vendas, the Chewas, Sothos. I am also the President for the Tongas, Tswanas, Xhosas, Khoisans, Shangaans, Kalangas, Nambyans and other races, all who are celebrated in our national Constitution.
“The role you have given me, and the Office you have inserted me into can never be partitioned to anyone.”
Political scientist Professor Charity Manyeruke said President Mnangagwa’s national outlook reflected political maturity and statesmanship.
“It is a very important message coming from a national leader. It shows that President Mnangagwa has a vision in terms of nation-building and he is already taking practical steps to unite the people,” said Prof Manyeruke.
“It shows that unity will be a key factor under his administration where he is seeking to pull Zimbabweans in one direction, working in unison to develop the country.
“The message shows that he is not discriminatory and he is prepared to unite the people under the banner of one Zimbabwe. His message also shows that he is anti-racist.
“It is derived from the unity shown by the people of Zimbabwe during the solidarity march which was organised by the war veterans where Zimbabweans of all races, creed and political affiliation came together as one for a common cause.”
University of Pretoria PhD scholar and political commentator Mr Alban Gambe added: “After a period of political polarisation, it was important for the President to deliver a message of unity.
“He did just that by pledging to represent all Zimbabweans and not just those who support his political party or those who come from his province.
“It is critical at this juncture, especially when we are due to hold elections in a few months’ time. Given the history of political intolerance in some areas, it was important that President Mnangagwa assured all the people of Zimbabwe that they are well represented through his administration.”