HARARE – President Robert Mugabe yesterday evoked history in order to lure the elusive Bulawayo vote ahead of crunch watershed elections expected later on this year.
He was addressing a memorial service held in Bulawayo for the late Vice President John Nkomo, who died in January this year after succumbing to cancer.
Zanu PF has struggled to win a single parliamentary seat in Bulawayo since 2000.
This has caused sleepless nights for the party’s top leadership who recently dispatched a high-powered delegation led by chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to this political hotbed with a mandate to urge party members to put aside their differences and unite for the task ahead.
“Never ever forget. Those who come along the way and say, a-ah, forget about everything else … then you begin to think of food, you have forgotten your land, your independence and you say a-ah, you give your back to John Landa Nkomo and the rest of us,” whined Mugabe.
“The urban people always think of their food first. It doesn’t matter whether you have Ian Smith in government or the British clandestinely as neo-colonialists ways of control, no, no, no. Be principled, be principled says John Landa Nkomo,” said Mugabe.
The urban vote has remained elusive for Mugabe’s party since the inception of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999.
“We are going to go to elections soon. okay, yesterday you might have voted for food and you kept on suffering. We brought independence, we suffered for independence. UJohn, John, John!” Mugabe cried out.
“I have not narrated here the number of prisons he went to, the number of detention centres he went to. You would be shocked to hear that a person would still be alive after being treated that way,” Mugabe said.
He pleaded with the people of Matabeleland to vote for Zanu PF in the forthcoming elections and restore the former ruling party’s glory.
“The people are voting for those who yesterday were opposing the struggle. It is disenchanting and it diminishes even what you sing as the national hymn.
“So, although we are not mourning him, we are celebrating. The celebration must not be superficial, and it must be felt in your heart and in soul when you say yes, I am really giving this song or this prayer to you John. Also I will prove that I am a true follower of you when I pass my vote,” said Mugabe. – Kudzai Chawafambira