ZIMBABWE today celebrates its 41st Independence anniversary amid a flagging economy, political and economic challenges. The ruling Zanu PF believes the economy is turning the corner after the dramatic popularly-supported coup against the former late president Robert Gabriel Mugabe in November 2017. The Daily News on Sunday Group Features Editor Dakarai Mashava last week spoke to Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Moses Mpofu on these and other issues.
Below are the excerpts.
Q: What is the significance of the country’s 41st anniversary?
A: The 18th of April serves as Zimbabwe’s birthday and it’s an important day of national reflection on the path we have travelled to be a free people against a backdrop of colonial domination. Our independence celebrations also dovetail with the momentous third anniversary of the Second-Republic. Through this day we also cast our projections into the future to reassert our sovereignty, economic endeavours, democracy, the equality born out of the fight against imperialist domination; among other liberation values. This is a refreshing moment for us to assess our challenges as a nation and how we should redirect our aspirations towards prosperity, peace, national unity and political stability.
Q: Given the fact that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered Zimbabweans to observe the country’s 41st Independence anniversary in line with measures put in place by the government and World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 protocols, how does Zanu PF and its supporters intend to mark this very important national day?
A: One of the major protocol requisites is that people adhere to the World Health Organisation (WHO) stay at home regulations and avoid unnecessary movements. In doing so our people will follow the commemorative broadcasting which will be aired on all traditional and social media. His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa will give his traditional national address as he joins Zimbabweans in reflecting on this important day.
Q: As the ruling party, what can you identify as Zanu PF’s main achievements over the last four decades since the country became independent?
A: The revolutionary party’s predominant achievement has been that of delivering independence to Zimbabwe following a protracted armed struggle. The consolidation of this freedom has been achieved through Zanu PF’s continued electoral endorsement as the party of our nation’s liberation. In the same light, we have ensured that our people continue to own the means of production. Apart from the land reform, we have mainstreamed a chain of policies which have created a sound and enabling environment for economic empowerment to thrive. The predominant entrepreneurial culture in our nation is testimony of the abundant policy zeal of the party to see our people at the centre of controlling their resources.
Q: Looking back over the last 41 years, what do you think Zanu PF should have done better?
A: We were supposed to take an early radical approach towards the economic empowerment of people instead of applying the negotiated approach to independence which left our people landless until the late revolutionary interventions of the land hungry majority. By now the progress of our agricultural growth — which is a mainstay of our economy; would have reached an acute level of mechanisation. So our greatest mistake was to delay giving our people access to the resources which imperialism starved them of. It was from that delayed revolutionary action that our economy was immensely sabotaged and arrested by neoliberalism which brought with it reactionary imperialist controlled opposition outfits. Since then our political space has remained toxic and polarised between pro-land reform rationality and anti-land reform neo-colonial insensibility. In committing to true reconciliation in 1980 we made ourselves gullible to colonial machinations. This is why we have Zimbabweans who find pleasure in having political agendas which service the preservation of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe by the imperialist nations of this world.
Q: From the ruling party’s perspective, what should be the government’s priorities for the next four decades?
A: The government which is an implementation arm of the party should ensure that there is strengthened unity of our people. This will validate the cause of the Second Republic, which has taken deliberate initiatives around issues of cohesion and social integration through the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). Government should formulate strategies which mobilise citizens towards fighting every idea and vice which threatens our national prosperity and security. We need to develop more institutional capacitation towards the fight against corruption, public service inaptitude and the culture of self-serving leadership, especially within our urban councils. We need to produce a culture of hard work, innovation and sponsoring meritocracy at all costs.
Q: What is Zanu PF’s response to calls for all-encompassing dialogue with a wider scope than Polad?
A: What could be more encompassing than Polad given that every other opposition party is a member of this round table platform except for one Nelson Chamisa? Outside political dialogue have you not heard about the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) which gives economic policy architecture counsel to the Cabinet? How many times has President Mnangagwa met with captains of industry, religious leaders, tertiary institution students and for crying out loud, is it not true that the media has enjoyed more freedom in the Second Republic than any other time in this country of ours? We are a democracy and democracy in itself is a dialogue. We are an everyday dialoguing nation!
Q: There have been reports of divisions in Zanu PF mainly caused by the divisive DCCs, as such is the ruling party united enough to sufficiently influence the course of government programmes?
A: Those reporting a crisis in Zanu PF are merely stage managing an envisaged collapse of the party. …
First published by the Daily News