ZAPU leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, has accused President Robert Mugabe of behaving like the former colonial regime and was now seeking to create a monarchy to run government business, after the veteran leader vowed to cling on to power at 93 years.
BY SILAS NKALA
Addressing a public meeting at MacDonald Hall in Mzilikazi, Bulawayo on Saturday, Dabengwa likened the behaviour of the Zanu PF government to the colonial regime, which forced oppressed Zimbabweans to take up arms and fight for their liberation.
“It is disappointing that so many years after that awakening to the importance of the right to choose and fire our leaders, we have a post-independence culture in which a desperate regime is in power and clinging to it by any means, including the manipulation and outright violation of our sovereign right to choose and change governments,” he said.
Mugabe, who celebrated his 93rd birthday in Matobo on Saturday, has vowed to cling on to power arguing Zanu PF, and the country, have not yet identified a suitable candidate to succeed him.
“In that sense we are back where we started, fighting for the right to have free and fair elections in which all people of voting age exercise their right to vote in peace and expect their vote to count. We did not fight in order to instal particular leaders or dynasties or chosen successors,” Dabengwa said.
The former Zipra intelligence supremo said the unequivocal and simple desire was to have accountability in leaders, so that they could be relied on to carry out the wishes and aspirations of the people and be judged through free and fair elections on their record in power.
“A mere 36 years after independence, we have a strange situation, where power is the watchword and the ruling regime even debates if the country can produce any capable leaders among the population, who are worthy of contending to carry out their wishes,” he quipped.
“The colonial and racist system that prevailed before independence was, first and foremost, built on limited rights for blacks, whereas we called for the respect for human rights and all the freedoms that come with those rights.”
Dabengwa said this included removal of the complex laws, practices and institutions that had been built to protect repressive and restrictive government, which thrived on rewarding selected parts of the population and protecting their property. He said such a repressive system does not know colour and has been duly retained in its letter and spirit by the Zanu PF regime despite the adoption of a new Constitution in 2013.
“Zapu campaigned for the inclusion of devolution of power in the new Constitution and believes that this is the most effective way for people in various parts of the country to deal with their priorities and use resources effectively,” Dabengwa said.
“The de-industrialisation and asset-stripping of Bulawayo is understandably a very sore point here where many of you grew up. Everywhere you go in the city, there are monuments of decay, where we had heavy industry and a thriving manufacturing sector,” he said. – NewsDay