What Mugabe promised thirty years ago

Text of speech by Zimbabwe's Prime Minister designate, March 4 1980

Text of the speech by Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister designate of Zimbabwe, March 4 1980

Greetings in the name of freedom. May I thank you most heartily for your votes and support. I feel overwhelmed and at the same time I feel humbled. I wish to address you tonight on the significance of the election victory you have awarded my party, ZANU - Patriotic Front. In doing so I would like to thank all those who, either by their direct vote, as our supporters, or by their efficient campaigning, as our organisers, have contributed to this favourable result. In addition may I also thank all the officials who participated in the mechanical exercise of handling the elections, without whose organizational and administrative efforts the whole election process would have been a failure.

Soon a new government will come into being and lead our country to independence. In constituting this government my main concern and that of my party is to create an instrument capable of achieving peace and stability, as it strives to bring about progress. Peace and stability can only be achieved if all of us, first as individuals and secondly as part of the whole Zimbabwean national community, feel a definite sense of individual security on the one hand, and have an assurance of national peace and security on the other.

It must be realized however that a state of peace and security can only be achieved by our determination, all of us, to be bound by the explicit requiremnets of peace contained in the Lancaster House agreement, which express the general desire of the people of Zimbabwe. In this regard I wish to assure you that there can never be any return to the state of armed conflict which existed before our commitment to peace and the democratic process of the election under the Lancaster House agreement. Surely this is now time to beat our swords into ploughshares, so we can attend to the problems of developing our economy and our society.

My party recognizes the fundamental principle that in constituting a government it is necessary to be guided by the national interest, rather than by strictly party considerations. Accordingly I am holding consultations with the leader of ZAPU-Patriotic Front, Comrade Joshua Nkomo, so we can enter into a coalition. What I envisage, however, is a coalition which, in the interests of reconciliation, can include by co-option members of other communities, whom the Consitution has denied the right of featuring as our candidates, by virtue of their being given block parliamentary representation. We should certainly work to achieve a national front. Whatever government I succeed in creating we will certainly adhere to the letter and spirit of our Constitution, since that government will itself have been the product of such Constitution. Only a government that subjects itself to the rule of law has any moral right to demand of its citizens obedience to the rule of law.

Our Constitution equally circumscribes the powers of the government by declaring certain civil rights and freedoms as fundamental. We intend to uphold these fundamental rights and freedoms to the full. Similarly, it is not our intention to interfere with pension rights and other accrued benefits of the civil servants. I may mention here that I have now held discussions with chiefs of joint operations command as well as with heads of ministries, and all of them have given me their assurance of their preparedness to work under my government. I in turn have assured them of our concern about their position, and the position of the civil servants. We have assured them that it is not the intention of our government, when it comes into being, to deprive the civil servants of their pension rights and accrued benefits; nor do we want to drive anybody out of this country.

We also do not intend to interfere unconstitutionally with the property rights of individuals.

I urge you, whether you are black or white, to join me in a new pledge to forget our grim past, forgive others and forget. Join hands in a new amity and together as Zimbabweans trample upon racialism, tribalism and regionalism, and work hard to reconstruct and rehabilitate our society as we reinvigorate our economic machinery.

The need for peace demands that our forces be integrated as soon as possible, so we can emerge with a single national army. Accordingly, I shall authorize General Walls, working in conjunction with the ZANLA and Zipra commanders, to preside over the integration process. We shall also, happily, continue to enjoy the assistance of British military instructors.

Finally, I wish to assure all the people that my government will strive to bring about meaningful change to their lives, that everyone should exercise patience, for change cannot occur overnight. For now, let us be united in our endeavour to lead the country to independence. Let us constitute a oneness derived from our common objectives and total commitment to build a great Zimbabwe that will be the pride of all Africa. Let us deepend our sense of belonging, and engender common interest that knows no race, colour or creed. Let us truly become Zimbabweans with a single loyalty. Long live our freedom.

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