President Mugabe, flanked by his deputies Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) and Phelekezela Mphoko (right), and zanu-pf National Youth League secretary Kudzanayi Chipanga, follows proceedings before addressing the Presidential Youth Interface Rally in Masvingo yesterday. — (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)
Addressing over 50 000 Zanu-PF supporters at Mucheke Stadium Open Arena during the third leg of the ongoing countrywide Presidential Youth Interface Rallies, the Head of State and Government condemned the programme’s detractors and praised First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the initiative.
The First Lady, who is also Secretary for Women’s Affairs, did not attend yesterday’s rally as she had visited South Africa where her sons, Chatunga Bellarmine and Robert are studying.
President Mugabe’s praise for Command Agriculture comes on the back of vilification of the initiative by Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo who has derided it as “Command Ugly-Culture” or “Command lies”.
His counterpart, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao also recently criticised the hugely successful programme saying “Zimbabwe was not about Command and Command was not the only game in town”.
President Mugabe explained that the programme had been adopted by Government with Minister of Agriculture Cde Joseph Made leading it, while funding came from domestic sources.
He said there was nothing amiss with VP Mnangagwa spearheading the programme.
“Saka takavamba Command Agriculture, VaMnangagwa vataura, vataura kuti aiwa, idea yacho yakavamba naFirst Lady yekubatanidza vanhu kuti hativangabatanidze here sezvo taita dambudziko renzara, vanhu varime vakabatana? Vakagara pasi pahuviri hwavo tisingazive isu. Kusana kuinyora nekuitasanura pabepa ndokubva vazouya nayo nokuna VaMade nekunesu tese, tikati, ‘ah, yakanaka asi inozoda mari. Ko chitadzo chakava chipi ipapo? Vakatadzei VaMnangagwa?”
He lauded VP Mnangagwa for successfully executing the initiative that has seen the country producing an estimated over four million tonnes of grain for the first time in years.
“Ko ndoanonzi maideas ka! Zvinovamwe vakuti ah, yakupindirwa zvekare nemasoja, yava yemasoja zvino inzwai takathreatenwa naVaChiwenga (ZDF Commander General Constantino) hameno kuti vaChiwenga vakataura izvozvo here zvakabuda mupepa.
“(Command Agriculture) iprogramme yedu inouya directly under the Ministry of Agriculture (Mechanisation and Irrigation Development) ndosaka VaMade vari ivo vatinoisa mberi pairi. Kumari, kana veFinance (and Economic Development) vadawo kuisesekedzawo, tinenge tichida mafertiliser, tinenge tichida mbeu; zvese zvinodiwa machemicals, aiwa zvakanaka.”
Last week, Gen Chiwenga reprimanded Professor Moyo for trying to create an impression that there was discord in Government, rebuking him for undermining Command Agriculture.
Prof Moyo also courted the wrath of Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda and Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa for fuelling policy discord in Government.
Minister Chinamasa dismissed Prof Moyo as a “barking dog” while commending the achievements of Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe’s quest to achieve food self-sufficiency.
President Mugabe urged local companies and indigenous A2 farmers to fully embrace Command Agriculture.
“It is a beautiful programme…We must not kill it. Maiona yaburitsa bumper harvest,” said President Mugabe, noting that the programme initially targeted farmers with irrigation facilities while dry land farmers benefitted from the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
He said the two facilities should work side by side and support for wheat and other crops as well as livestock was in the offing.
Turning to factionalism, President Mugabe said it had to stop, warning that Zanu PF had no room for divisive elements.
“The so-called factions must be silenced. It does not help anybody to be writing nonsense about somebody muchiita twumameeting twenyu husiku to denigrate somebody.What really is the objective? Is the objective to build or to destroy?” he questioned.
President Mugabe sent a strong warning to officials he described as “negative characters” within the ruling party saying those who were unhappy with Zanu-PF policies were free to leave.
“Kana vanhu vasingade musangano ngavabude vaende zvavo. We have been quite tolerant. This party was built on the blood and sacrifices of many people,” he said to roaring cheers from the crowd.
President Mugabe decried tribalism, which he said ran counter to the ideals espoused by luminaries such as the late Vice Presidents Simon Muzenda, Joshua Nkomo and Joseph Msika.
He emphasised that no tribe was superior to others in Zimbabwe, saying the war of liberation would not have succeeded if nationalists and freedom fighters had fought along tribal lines.
President Mugabe warned youths against being corrupted by money given by senior party officials pursuing selfish agendas.
He cautioned ambitious party bigwigs against manipulating youths and emphasised the need for unity as the party geared for next year’s harmonised elections.
“Unonzwa vamwe vachiti (Engineer Walter) Mzembi hatichamudi. Munoda ani? Ndizvo zvimwewo nekwatakabva kuManicaland kwavaiti Minister of State (Mandi Chimene) hatichamudi nokuti mukadzi nachairman wacho (Dr Samuel Undenge) hatichada tinoda vedu isu,” he said.
In his address at the rally, Zanu PF Youth league secretary Cde Kudzanai Chipanga, urged youths to register to vote for President Mugabe and Zanu PF in next year’s harmonised elections.
He said the Youth League was solidly behind President Mugabe with the veteran Zanu PF leader poised for victory in next year’s polls.
Yesterday’s rally was President Mugabe’s third leg having been to Mashonaland East and Manicaland on his ongoing Presidential Youths Interface rallies to afford youths throughout the country an opportunity to closely interact with him.
Cde Chipanga said the next rally was billed for Matabeleland North province on July 14.
Present at the Masvingo rally were VPs Mnangangwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatious Chombo, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere and his State Security counterpart Cde Kembo Mohadi, among other Government and ruling party officials from Masvingo and the rest of the country.
President Mugabe dismissed opposition parties as ‘’nuisance parties’’ which stood no chance against the Zanu PF juggernaut, come next year’s harmonised elections.
‘’Zvima party izvi zvaana(NPP leader Dr Joice) Mai Mujuru, ana(PDP leader Mr Tendai) Biti, neMDC-T zviri kuda kuuya kuzoti kuvanhu vedu rovai bhora musango. Havana chokwadi chekuti vangahwine maelections. Va(MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai vakadura kare kuti tiri kudyiwa,’’ he said.
He urged the party to avoid a repeat of the 2008 ‘’Bhora Musango” phenomenon that forced Zanu PF to enter an inclusive Government with the MDC formations from 2009-2013.