The following is from Zimbabwe’s Herald:
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday said the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme would take centre stage at the Zanu-PF 12th Annual National People’s Conference, which starts in Bulawayo today.
Speaking during his photographic exhibition at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) last night, the Head of State and Government and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said the time has come for ordinary Zimbabweans to have a say in the national economy.
He said the liberation struggle was fought in order to repossess the land from the white minority and empower black people economically.
“Our sovereignty would not exist unless we own the land. We must be masters of our destiny and manage the natural resources below and above the earth’s surface. We must train ourselves hand skills and pride ourselves in being able to manage our affairs.
“Let us not be content with being employees. Let us fight to be employers and owners of companies. The big companies should cede shares to black people,” said President Mugabe.
“We will not drive away those companies that brought investment into the country but we will not allow them to be our masters. This is what we will be discussing in our conference meetings, which start tomorrow.
“Each one of us must feel proud to be a Zimbabwean, feel proud to have a role in ensuring that our past does not destroy the revolution.”
The Government has already started the indigenisation programmes in the country through the Community Share Ownership Scheme Trust (CSOS/T), a countrywide initiative meant to spearhead development and empower rural communities by giving them a 10 percent stake in all businesses that exploit natural resources in their respective areas.
So far, three initiatives have been launched.
These are Unki Mine, which presented a US$10 million cheque to the community and a certificate for the 10 percent stake in its mines, Zimplats, which launched the Mhondoro, Chegutu and Zvimba CSOS/T in October and Schweppes, which launched the Employee and Management Share Ownership Trust in Harare last week. Under the Trust, workers own 51 percent of the company while Delta, the parent company retains 49 percent.
President Mugabe also urged Zimbabweans to work together and remain united in the spirit of the 1987 Unity Accord signed between PF-Zapu and Zanu.
He said Zimbabwe was a country with diverse tribes and urged people to respect each other and desist from perpetrating divisions.
He said different tribes had a common ideology and unity of purpose when they fought during the liberation struggle.
“The struggle we fought was a Zimbabwean struggle. We were all equal and we had a common denominator. This common denominator refuses that one tribe should dominate others,” said President Mugabe.
He, however, said belonging to a tribe and celebrating one’s cultural identity was in itself healthy as it demonstrated the diversity of the people in the country.
“What they do in Plumtree, in Kezi or in Beitbridge is their culture. Let us bring that diversity together. We should remain united today and tomorrow. Sisonke, simunye.”
President Mugabe took the huge crowd attending his photographic exhibition down memory lane as he narrated his history and how he assumed the leadership of the party and the Government.
He said he has learnt that leadership was all about putting people first and listening to their wishes.
“Pictures are necessary as well as our deeds of the past but the present must be taken seriously. The youth should always know that as the leaders we always regarded the people’s interests.
“No one should think he is the authority or kingmaker. Our revolution should give us a sense of humility. As a leader you must obey the people and be part of the people. The people, the people, the people. We considered the land issue as paramount during the Lancaster House Conference and that is why we had a deadlock in our initial talks until the whites agreed to give us back the land. That is what we fought for,” said President Mugabe.
He said the exhibition has reminded him of his past years and commended the Friends of Joshua Trust for organising the event, which he described as an overwhelming presentation.
President Mugabe urged the youths to do more research about the history of the country and reflect the truth about the country’s revolutionary path.