PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday paid glowing tribute to his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe who was toppled by the military in November 2017, describing him “as a principled man who would never compromise on what was right and just for his people”.
In a statement to mark the second anniversary of Mugabe’s death, Mnangagwa said: “There is no better way to remember him than by recalling to ourselves the values which he stood for and embracing them as our own in order to develop our country in peace and harmony.
“The founding father of our nation distinguished himself as a principled man who would never compromise on what was right and just for his people. Quite often he would remind us about what the late Kwame Nkrumah said about adherence to principle. He said, “principles should never be sacrificed on the altar of expediency.”
Zimbabwe has been at loggerheads with the West over its poor human rights record since the turn of the millennium, a trend that has continued under Mnangagwa. Mugabe argued that the punitive sanctions imposed by the West were revenge for grabbing land from white farmers to resettle landless blacks.
“Our inaugural President taught us that right is might, challenging the great powers of the world that espoused the doctrine of might is right. Our late leader would always invoke one of the key tenets of the United Nations Charter which asserts the sovereign equality of nations,” Mnangagwa gushed.
“Equally, he would remind us and the world that Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, and that the destiny of our nation lies in our own hands. Hence, whatever we do. We do it for ourselves as Zimbabweans foremost and for nobody else. That is why land reform which he pioneered is irreversible. Sanctions or no sanctions, he would not shy away from reminding the British the land question was not negotiable. Hence, under the Second Republic, we are now focusing on land productivity to underpin the speedy transformation of our economy including ensuring food security. Land is the Economy, the Economy is the Land, we have repeatedly said.”
Following his ouster, Mugabe described Mnangagwa as his “tormentor” despite being his boss for over five decades.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa has indicated that he would attend this year’s edition of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting, scheduled for later this month, virtually as a precautionary measure against contracting COVOD-19.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba said organisers of the assembly had given member States an option to attend virtually or physically, but Mnangagwa had opted not to travel to New York.
Charamba also claimed his boss made the decision because he wanted to remain in the country and focus on reviving the ailing economy.
The UNGA will run from September 21 to 27 in New York, United States of America.