The Sunday Mail
Tens of thousands of people from Harare Metropolitan province yesterday thronged the National Sports Stadium for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s final 2018 harmonised elections rally, with Zanu-PF’s Presidential candidate saying Zimbabwe was on the verge of something special should he — as several surveys have indicated — win tomorrow’s poll.
The Head of State and Government spoke of the “winds of freedom which have blown across Zimbabwe” in the seven months he has been in office, and enjoined the electorate to give him a five-year mandate to proceed with the socio-economic transformation he has overseen thus far.
President Mnangagwa repeated his call for Zimbabweans to give utmost hospitality to international visitors and observers who are in the country for the elections, and urged the latter to stick to their business of observing the polls and not dabble in the country’s internal affairs.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, President Mnangagwa said, was an independent Constitutional Commission, and neither Government nor political parties could influence the body. This follows incessant attacks on Zec, and attempts to brow-beat it into neglecting its constitutional mandate, by the MDC-Alliance — a campaign that has not found takers amongst the dozens of other parties contesting the elections.
Addressing the 40 000-strong crowd at the gathering dubbed “Victory Rally”, President Mnangagwa said: “I say to you Zimbabwe is born afresh on Monday. This coming Monday we will win the elections. We are voting for the future.
We are not voting for today, we are voting for tomorrow so that together we can unlock the potential of our country, together we will build a new Zimbabwe for all.
“(People) are saying – and I share their views – that something special is coming to Zimbabwe. Something special has renewed our hope as people of Zimbabwe; a nation invigorated by this huge democratic process, a nation that is determined to keep going with changes we have seen in the past eight months.
“We were finishing off someone’s term in office and our room for manoeuvre has been limited. But once re-elected on Monday with a real mandate for change and a full five-year term, I guarantee you it’s go and go in our country. My commitment is to bring concrete change that will give comfort to all Zimbabweans.”
He said he would keep his shoulder to the wheel in his quest to make Zimbabwe a middle-income economy by 2030.
“I will never be complacent, I will never take the support of Zimbabweans for granted … Over the past eight months, I have set about achieving the vision you sowed, the hope which you sowed eight months ago.
“There is of course a big difference between a vision and a reality, to get from where we are to where we want to be; we cannot do that overnight.”
President Mnangagwa said it would be disingenuous for anyone to ignore the transformation being witnessed in Zimbabwe.
“No one, no one who is honest will say things are not changing. We all know that after opening the democratic space, after opening Zimbabwe with the mantra Zimbabwe is open for business, we have received hundreds and hundreds of investors, coming to Zimbabwe looking for opportunities to invest in our country. We have opened the country to the world and within the last seven months.”
He went on: “I have met all Zimbabweans, old and young, men and women, supporters and enemies, enjoying every minute.
“We, as Zanu-PF, have held rallies across the country, speaking to many hundreds of thousands of people sharing our vision for the new Zimbabwe and at every rally we feel the same sense of energy, of excitement, we can see it through the number of people coming to our rallies, we can see it through the eyes of our people, we can see hope.”
On election observers, the President said, “We have visitors that have come to our country and my appeal to you is to be hospitable to them, speak to them properly. We also call on the observers who have come to stick to their work and not to meddle in the affairs of the country.”
Among international guests who were warmly welcomed by the crowd at yesterday’s rally were representatives from Sadc countries and fellow liberation movements and ruling parties.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans had shown their maturity by observing peace throughout the campaign.
He, however, warned merchants of chaos and violence that the rule of law would prevail.
“We want to have our elections in peace, we know that there are those who want to provoke members of our party, but we will not retaliate.
“We have our security forces who are there to maintain peace. We are confident that the police will be on top of the situation to quell any disturbances that may arise. Those that may have the spirit of (the devil) will be dealt with in terms of the law.”
The President said the people of Harare had the opportunity to vote for Zanu-PF councillors who would provide better service delivery than those from opposition political parties.