PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday pleaded with Zapu members who broke away from the Unity Accord to return saying “they make me cry”.
Officiating at the unveiling of the statue of the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo in Bulawayo yesterday, Mugabe said those who left the united Zanu PF were being disloyal to the memory of the veteran nationalist.
In what was seen as an inference to former Zanu PF politburo heavyweight and current Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa who quit together with former Finance minister Simba Makoni in protest over Mugabe’s continued stranglehold on power, the president said those who had been under Zanla or Zipra wings “must come back” to the fold.
“Just yesterday you were under (Nkomo’s) command, in Zipra. You said yes sir, when he spoke, but now he’s gone, you do your own things. That’s being disloyal. Come back, come back, come back,” Mugabe pleaded.
“I am not talking about (Morgan) Tsvangirai and the MDC; those ones can go to hell, hell, hell,” Mugabe said.
He again reiterated his long held accusation that the MDC was not a home-grown party, but a front of Britain and the United States to control Zimbabwe’s natural resources.
Mugabe revealed that Nkomo had on three occasions turned down an offer of being the first president of Zimbabwe soon after independence.
“I personally asked Dr Nkomo to be president, but he said no. I sent another delegation, but again he said no. I sent a third delegation to plead with him, but he said no — such was his humility. Perhaps you didn’t know,” Mugabe said.
After Nkomo declined the post, Mugabe said they then approached the late Reverend Canaan Banana who took up the offer with Mugabe as Prime Minister.
However, Mugabe did not disclose the reasons for Nkomo’s refusal to take up the post of the largely ceremonial presidency or the composition of his emissaries to the veteran nationalist.