PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday pleaded with party supporters in Masvingo to convert their huge attendance figures at his campaign rallies into Zanu PF votes to have a “one-party State” come the July 31 harmonised elections.
Mugabe attacked private media journalists, accusing them of siding with the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party. He took a dig at Zanu PF members who defiantly opted to stand as independents after being ordered to withdraw from the race.
The Zanu PF leader asked the thousands of people who thronged the venue of the rally whether they would translate their numbers into votes, an indication that the veteran leader was sceptical of his support base given the embarrassing defeat of 2008.
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at a campaign rally near Mucheke Stadium, Mugabe said: “. . . it’s better for us to go back to one-party State.”
His utterances were echoed by First Lady Grace Mugabe who also warned: “If we are not clever, the one-party State will not come.
“We had the MDC in government, but we can’t get used to it. On July 31, let’s go and vote and let’s choose what we want.”
Mugabe has always been a proponent of the one-party State, with his campaign for that system of government reaching its zenith in the 1980s. The new Constitution recognises multi-party democracy.
On Wednesday, the 89-year-old veteran leader also made a passionate plea during a campaign rally in Norton for people to vote him to ensure a one-party system. Turning to the private media, Mugabe said: “They (journalists) must have the conscience, that sense of honesty, that sense of truth.
“They say Mugabe rushed us to polls, yet we do not have a Parliament. That is the MDC and their stupid supportive media. Even if they make mistakes, journalists support the errors and are blinded, that is wrong journalism.”
Switching to rebels in his party, Mugabe said Zanu PF was bigger than individuals and will not tolerate disobedience.
“The President is not bigger than the party, I’m a child of the party. I was selected by the party,” he said. “We just compete for the sake of it, we follow the rules of the party.
“I have spoken in riddles, but let those with ears here. There are two or three who think they are better than the party.”
Zanu PF members, among them Marian Chombo (Zvimba North), Munyaradzi Kereke (Bikita West) and Jonathan Samukange (Mudzi South), will stand as independent candidates at the July 31 polls, in defiance of a directive that they pull out. Although Mugabe urged his supporters to remain peaceful,he made a veiled threat to go back to war if attacked.
“Let’s demonstrate to the world and the British, who thought they could be violence,” he said.
“We know war, we can fight very well, so no one can threaten us. These boys (MDC-T youths) who say police will be attacked, they did not get advice from their parents. We will just slap them in the face.”