President Robert Mugabe has called for immediate reforms in the systems of governance in order to resolve the situation that dragged the country into a crisis in the past few days.
Mugabe who addressed the nation on Sunday night particularly pointed out the need to “urgently” attend to the needs of the army veterans whom he admitted have been sidelined for long.
These remarks came as a shock to many spectators who anticipated a resignation speech following dramatic developments on Sunday.
He had just met with the security forces command to discuss how to return the nation to normalcy, perfect peace and stability.
This follows increasing pressure from Zimbabwe’s freedom fighters for 93-year-old Mugabe to step down accusing him of sidelining them in favour of his wife Grace Mugabe.
“We still have army veterans of our founding struggle who found the current prevailing environment alienating. This must be corrected to ensure they [veterans] play a central role,” President Mugabe said in a statement to the nation.
This was the second time he made a public appearance since Wednesday when the army took control of the state.
“Their [veterans] participation in war brought life long costs which might be ameliorated. They have to be attended to with a great sense of urgency,” he added.
In a speech which lasted 25 minites, Mugabe flanked by army top army officials admitted that the ZANU-PF rules have been flouted by some individuals, appealing for fair application of rules and procedures going forward.
“ZANU-PF is a party of traditions and has been served by successive generations with shared values that must reign supreme”.
“Intergenerational disputes must be resolved by melding of all players as they receive new ones by a well explained hierarchy. I will preside over this process in the next congress,” the leader stated.
He further acknowledged the friction between high ranking officials in his government and the ruling party which has led to conflicting communication. “All this has to stop as we inaugurate a new work culture, commitment to turning around out economy.”
However, his speech was received bitterly by majority of the ZANU-PF members who hours earlier sacked him as their party President and asked him to resign immediately. On the contrary, Mugabe adamantly went on to lay out his future plans as President and that he will preside over the party congress next month to rekindle its glory.
In hindsight of the military takeover that dragged the country into political uncertainty, Mugabe lauded the army for respecting constitutionalism and his his authority as both President and Commander-in-Chief.
“I do acknowledge that the issues they have drawn my attention to were raised out of patriotic concern, welfare of people and stability of the nation. The command element remained respectful and pillars of the state remained functional. Challenges are being corrected.”
A seemingly calm Mugabe who sat in the midst of army Generals and government officials sounded a message of reconciliation to Zimbabweans.
“We can’t be guided by bitterness and vengefulness both of which would not make us any better party members or Zimbabweans,” he said.
He asked the citizens to learn to forgive in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit.
“The hallowed policy of reconciliation to those we traded fire with can not be unavailable to our own both in the party and the nation.”
Mugabe further applauded the nature of Zimbabweans whom he described as ‘generally peaceful’ people, saying that their conduct in recent couple of days would have been different it it was in another country.
He however advised party members against handling party issues with bitterness.
While Mugabe’s speech might have given Zimbabwe hope for better days ahead, his control over the country remains uncertain after his party gave a one day ultimatum for him to step down. Thousands of Zimbabweans on Saturday poured on the streets calling for him to relinquish power.
Mugabe 93, has been President of Zimbabwe since 1980 until Monday when the military threatened his seat for the first time, although they dismissed coup allegations.
The future of Zimbabwe’s politics remains unclear, especially at a time when the ruling and largest political party dismisses its top leader and remains adamant.