HARARE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday called for peace and tolerance among Zimbabweans as the southern African country heads for general elections next year.
Opening the fifth session of the seventh Parliament, he said Zimbabweans must remain focused on building the country for the benefit of current and future generations.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe opens the country’s Parliament in Harare, Oct 30, 2012.[Photo/Agencies]
“As we look ahead, irrespective of our political differences, let us continue to be bound together as Zimbabweans and to maintain a disciplined focus on the task of developing our country for the benefit of our current and future generations.
“Let us continue to engender within ourselves the belief that we are masters of our own destiny and the resolve to jealously guard our hard won independence and nationhood, hoisting national unity as our solid bond,” he said.
“I want to appeal to all leaders, party followers and stakeholders including the media, to adopt to pledge to work genuinely for national unity. Let us shun violence in all its manifestations and latent forms, especially as we look forward to our national elections,” he added.
Mugabe said it was critical that Zimbabweans believed in their capacity to solve the country’s challenges without external interference.
“These cruel measures undermine our people’s efforts to turn around the economy,” he said, adding efforts would continue to be directed through the Zimbabwe-European Union dialogue to push for the total lifting of the embargo.
Mugabe said Zimbabwe would continue to count on the security agencies to guarantee a peaceful and stable environment.
The last elections held in 2008 were marred by incidents of violence largely blamed on supporters of the country’s top two political parties Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Western countries, in particular Britain and the United States have in vain used various tricks to push for the ouster of President Mugabe through meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
The countries have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, which have been largely blamed for fueling economic challenges which the country experienced in the past decade.
The fifth session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe is expected to pass a number of landmark bills, including the new constitution, which will pave way for the general elections in 2012.
First Lady Grace Mugabe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Prime Minister Tsvangirai, his deputies Arthur Mutambara and Thokozane Khupe, as well as legislators from all the political parties represented in Parliament attended the grand ceremony, characterized by pomp and fanfare.
A police brass band led the proceedings, which were followed from outside by hundred of members of the public.