Thousands of Zimbabweans thronged the National Heroes Acre to remember the fallen and living heroes and heroines who sacrificed themselves to ensure the country got liberated. Similar gatherings were also replicated at provincial shrines across the country.

Delivering his keynote address to the thousands who converged at the National Heroes Acre to mark Heroes Day, President Robert Mugabe expressed shock at the sudden death of Masvingo Minister of State Cde Shuvai Mahofa who died early this morning, saying he spoke to her at the last Zanu PF politburo meeting.

The President said he got the news early in the morning from Cde Happyton Bonyongwe, the Director General of the Central Intelligence Organisation.

The President said he was astonished to learn of Cde Mahofa’s demise, saying at the last politburo, as he always does, he asked Cde Mahofa how she was feeling now to which she replied in the affirmative.

President Mugabe calls for peace

Cde Mugabe called for peace as the country is heading for elections next year in 2018, ending his address with a saying popularized by the late Vice President Land John Nkomo, ‘Peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace beings with all of us’.

“As we prepare for the 2018 elections we need peace in the party, peace in the other parties. If there is peace, every sector can go about their tasks freely. I want to thank the security forces for ensuring peace in the country,” said President Mugabe.

President Mugabe condemns soldiers, police skirmishes

Cde Mugabe condemned the incident in which some soldiers went into the streets and had skirmishes with the police, adding that he spoke to the security chiefs to ensure that such an incident does not recur in future.

‘Use the internet properly’

President Mugabe said at independence, government pronounced that all children must go to school and go up as high as they could, adding that education continues to development in terms of technology, hence the reason why he launched the schools computerisation programmes to enhance the knowledge base.

“You can now use the internet to obtain knowledge…. For example, if you want to know kuti Robert Mugabe ndiani, akazvarwa rinhi unozviwana pa interrnet…Europe yakamira sei…(Tony) Bair iyeyu akazvarwa rinhi akadzidza kupi….unozviwana zvakare,” he added.

The President, however, took a swipe at those who peddle lies on the internet about the country, writing that people are being put in detentions, saying it is particularly the opposition does that. He described such habits as “Zvivi zve technology, cyber crime,” highlighting that government is looking at way to address these crimes.

‘Draw inspiration from the country’s heroes, heroines’

Turning to the sacrifices made by the country’s heroes and heroines, the President urged Zimbabweans to draw inspiration from the heroes lying at the various shrines, and consider the sacrifices these men and women made.

He spoke about how blacks were discriminated against during colonialism where all men were called “boys” and where blacks could not buy items from certain shops or build a house in areas like Borrowdale or Highlands.

“Taivakirwa dzimba KuMbare sezvo vaizoda cheap labour, tichigara semabhachura… Blacks residential areas like Highfield, Mbare and Chitungwiza were build far away from the city,” the President said.

Cde Mugabe called for more comprehensive research about the country’s heroes.

President Mugabe calls for fund to assist war vets families

He also appealed for assistance to children and families left by the departed heroes, including assistance to families and war veterans still alive.

The President called for the creation of a fund to assist the war veterans families, both departed and alive, saying funds from treasury are not enough as Finance and Economic Development Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa has a lot on his plate that requires funding in terms of all government programmes.

Cde Mugabe spoke about the importance of heroes’ shrines, adding that Heroes Day is meant to pay tribute to all heroes wherever they lie.

“The National shrine and other shrines across the country are meant to institutionalise memories of our heroes. Let us remember the heroes’ everyday. Thousands were massacred at Nyadzonya, Tembwe, Chimoio and many other places.

“Our heroes were the best of our nation at a difficult period who deserve recognition and respect in a very special way as we celebrate their sacrifice to serve their people,” he said.

‘National shrine not for the Tsvangirais’

President Mugabe reiterated that the national shrines and other provincial heroes acre are for those who sacrificed immensely for freedom Zimbabweans enjoy today.

He said:  “Nyika yakauya neropa…”. The Tsvangirais should know that. The Heroes Acre is for those who paid the supreme sacrifice. If we are to bury the likes of Tsvangirai here…tinoti vakaitei chingaita kuti varadzikwe pano…..iko kuvamba MDC ndiko kounza munhu pano? Hongu panyaya yekuwana ivhu nderedu tose, vakatengesa nevasina kutengesa, vakaenda kuhondo nevasina vanekodzero yekuwana ivhu.”

‘No one chased away the whites’

President Mugabe takes a swipe at former white commercial farmers who are coming back to farms saying we left our equipment. Cde Mugabe said as government they never chased whites away. He equally blasted blacks who are now leasing farms to whites, saying they are defeating the purpose of the Land Reform Programme.

“We never chased away whites from this country but….ivo vakangoti pfochopfocho kutiza… but they are now slowly trying to come back on their own… what has happened to South Africa and other places that you ran too? Those running industries we never chased them away. In the civil service at independence we wanted to count how many whites we had there but before we could do that, “vakangoti pfochopfocho kutiza”… fortunately, blacks who had been educated saved the day and filled the posts left vacant by the whites,” he said.

President Mugabe spoke on the death sentence, saying government is considering the issue, on whether to abolish it or keep it, adding that other countries have done away with it. He mentioned that Vice President Mnangagwa who is the Minister responsible for Justice is of the view that it must be abolished.

‘Unity, unity and more unity’

Cde Mugabe reiterated the need for Zimbabweans to remain united on principles on which national unity is based on.

“Tinoda kuti tirambe takabatana,” said President Mugabe.

VP Mnangagwa in SA hospital

President Mugabe had begun his keynote address by revealing that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is in Johannesburg getting medical attention at a hospital there.