The Sunday Mail
Walter Nyamukondiwa in MUROMBEDZI
THOUSANDS of people gave President Emmerson Mnangagwa a rousing welcome at his maiden Thank You Rally at Murombedzi growth point in Zvimba yesterday, on a day coinciding with his inauguration as Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in November 2017.
President Mnangagwa was inaugurated on November 24, 2017 following realignment of the country’s leadership after Operation Restore Legacy which saw Mr Robert Mugabe resigning as State President under pressure from the people, Parliament and Zanu-PF.
President Mnangagwa arrived in Mr Mugabe’s home district aboard a helicopter at around 11.30am, along with his deputy Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, Zanu-PF National Chair Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and other senior ruling party officials.
This was the first of a series of rallies to thank the people for voting overwhelmingly for him and Zanu-PF in the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections.
The President got more than 55 000 votes in the four constituencies of Zvimba and about 312 000 votes across Mashonaland West province.
The second-highest tally was MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson’s Chamisa roughly 200 000 votes.
Zanu-PF won 18 of Mashonaland West’s 22 constituencies. MDC Alliance won three and Independent candidate Mr Temba Mliswa bagged Norton.
President Mnangagwa’s total was the highest number of votes received by a Presidential candidate in the province since 1980.
Swept by the palpable excitement in Murombedzi, President Mnangagwa changed direction as he emerged from a briefing with his officials so as to get closer to the people.
It ignited a frenzy as people waved their green and black caps, emblazoned with his picture, to acknowledge their support for the President and his vision to turn Zimbabwe into an upper middle-class economy by 2030.
President Mnangagwa thanked the multitudes for their backing.
“Tauya pano zuva ranhasi sevatungamiriri venyu takokwa kuno neMashonaland West province. Zuva ranhasi rabva rati gwede gwede sezvataurwa naVice-President. Rabva rati gwede gwede nezuva ra24 November gore rakapera pakatanga Second Republic ndichiitungamirira ini.
“Ndoomusangano wedu wekutanga at national level. Ndoziva kuti manga muchiita musangano maweekend ese aya, padistrict, paprovince nepabranch asi uno ndewe kutanga. Ndofunga kuti hazvina kungoitika zvega kuti titange nekuno,” he said.
The President went on: “I thank the people of Zvimba; you showed that you are Zanu-PF to the core. There were others in the party who said the party would lose if they were not chosen to represent the party. They went astray but you showed that you do not follow an individual but the party. The party is supreme,” he said.
President Mnangagwa outlined what his Government has been doing, and will do, to grow the economy and improve people’s standards of living.
VP Chiwenga also addressed the gathering, saying unity and progress should be cherished by everyone, before calling on the opposition to be patriotic.
“The coming of the President to Murombedzi is to thank the people that they have given him a mandate to start the Second Republic, the New Dispensation. This is his first year as the country’s leader,” he said.
“After voting for the President and the party, we got an absolute majority. Let this trend continue into future elections.”
The rally saw Norton legislator Mr Mliswa donning Zanu-PF bearing President Mnangagwa’s portrait, and the Head of State and Government acknowledged his presence.
In an interview, Mr Mliswa said he believed in President Mnangagwa’s vision.
“People need to appreciate that I support the President and I believe in his policies,” he said.
Also present at the rally were Mashonaland West Minister of State Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, Zanu-PF provincial chair Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi, and other senior officials from the ruling party.