Live updates by: Thembinkosi Mangena, Jackie Gwemende and Wadzanai Mhombera
15:34 – President Mugabe concludes his speech and we receive a vote of thanks from the Midlands Minister of State, Cde Jason Machaya, marking the end of the interface rally.
15:30 – Cde Mugabe explains the VP Mnangagwa poisoning saga.
He says it is unfortunate that some people claim that Cde Mnangagwa was poisoned by ministers Dr David Parirenyatwa and Dr Sydney Sekeramayi.
“Even varungu havazvitendi, ndosaka vakaisa Anti Witch Craft Act. Munofunga kuti iye anenge achinzi ndiye anga achida kuuraya mumwe, anonzwa sei iye asina kuzviita. His doctor came and we had over 1 hour 30 minutes at State House, where explained everything to me. He said Cde Mnangagwa has been my patient for over 20 years. He said there is no food poisoning but what surprised us is that he vomited until he could not do so, fainted several times, apo achizvimba nekuzvimba. Chakanyanyotityisa ndechekuti ropa rake rakange ravashoma and brain dzake futi was affected. Oh anga ava kuenda murume uyu, ndanga ndisisazive. Now we must build up his strength, his body, he is now fit again, wasimba, he is back asi tichirikuda kuziva kuti zvakambouya sei, tichiongorora kuti hazvichadzoki futi here. But it’s not food poisoning. Nesu zvakativhundutsa chose. Tinorwara tese, miviri iyi inoneta dzimwe nguva, wongonzwa kuti munhu adonha, zvinoitika. Now nemudzimai wake chasara kutevedzera chikafu chaakanzi adye, nyama akanzi asabata, hameno hako kana wanga une mbudzi wotondipa ndinodzidya.”
15:05 – On land to youths, Cde Mugabe says the number of those without land should be handed over to the government so that their issue is addressed.
14:53 – President Mugabe goes down memory lane, chronicling how the liberation struggle was fought and how he and other nationalists were incerated in various jails and detention camps which include Whawha and Sikombela. He also narrates the events of the Lancaster House negotiations, where ZANU and ZAPU went united under the banner of Patriotic Front (PF).
14:47 – Cde Mugabe speaks in the unity in the presidium: “Kwatakabva kure. Kwatakabva kure takabatana. Arwara ipapo takadai ini, vaVaMphoko naVaMnangagwa, ndini ndarwara, ndinenge ndichitoda kuziva kuti aenda kuhospital, aita sei ikoko. Imi munenge musingazivi izvozvo, muchongoti aroiwa, pane vatisingawirirani navo vekunemamwe maprovinces ndivo varoyi.”
14:45 – He adds that there are opponents and not witches. “The party has principles that must be followed and those that fail to follow the rules cannot be bewitched but must be disciplined within the party structures.”
14:43 – President Mugabe speaks on witch craft, saying there is no such thing as witches and wizards in the party.
14:41 – He says such a gathering shows unity and love for the party, adding that Midlands Province has always been the bedrock of the party since the days of the late Vice President Muzenda
14:39 – “Rambai makadaro, tevedzerai gwara remusangano,” says Cde Mugabe.
14:35 – He thanks the Youth League for organising the interface rallies.
14:33 – After the sounding of the now trademark song from Jah Praizah: ‘Mudhara Achauya,’ which Cde Chipanga says should be played for the President, Cde Mugabe takes to the podium.
14:26 – She warns members of the party who pretend to love President Mugabe yet they work behind the scenes to push for their selfish and successionist agendas to stop it. She says: “Your actions are known, what comes goes around comes around.”
14:23 – Dr Mugabe says vying for presidency is different from applying for a job, where one goes for an interview and impresses a few panelists. Presidency is different, you must be loved by every Zimbabwean, and not just a province.
14:23 – She slams factionalism in the party, saying God still wants President Mugabe to lead.
14:17 – Dr Mugabe says Zimbabwe is blessed to have a president like Cde Mugabe, who has been blessed with long life at 93 years old. He quotes a couple of verses from the Bible, saying God knew and formed President Mugabe well before he was in his mother’s womb. She says no weapon formed against the chosen one of God shall prosper.
14:14 – Dr Mugabe says she is not convinced that there is no factionalism in the Midlands Province, because “what we are hearing from this province and Masvingo is not amusing. Kubva kuma provinces aya, tinonzwa mashoko anotukirira President, anotukirira mukadzi wavo nevana vavo. Unless if you say from this minute and hour, you have changed, otherwise stop it.”
14:12 – The First Lady says all those who claim to be loyal to President Mugabe must show that even when the President is not there.
14:06 – Cde Chipanga concludes his speech and invites the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe to address the rally.
14:05 – To ambitious members of the party, Cde Chipanga says: “Kurota uchitonga hazvina kuipa, chakaipa kufamba uchirotomota…..Amai Mugabe havatyityidzirwe zvekumanya, zvakangofanana nemwana wegonzo anorota achipfimba mwana wekatsi.”
14:02 – “We are happy that war veterans led by Cde Mandi Chimene and Cde Mlala are behind President Mugabe. The few war veterans like Victor Matemadanda are not the leaders of the war veterans. Remember, the President is also a war veteran, the Vice Presidents are also war veterans.
14:02 – Youths won’t tolerate imposition of candidates, only President Mugabe is guaranteed of his position. All other positions are to be contested come next year. Incompetent MPs beware.”
13:59 – Cde Chipanga says the Zanu PF Youth League has launched a magazine titled: ‘The Interface,’ which records all the highlights of the Presidential Youth Interface rallies.
13:55 – He says the message of the Youth League executive is that: “Pana Amai naBaba, ndopanevana. Of course, pane vamwe vana venyu vangarasika apo neapo but tinoti muneright yekuti discipliner nenzira ipi yamunoda.”
13:53 – Cde Chipanga calls for people especially youths to register to vote in next year’s elections.
13:45 – After all salutations, Cde Chipanga confirms that after the Presidential Youth Interface rallies in all the country’s provinces, the Youth League will organise another interface rally, where President Mugabe will meet with students at all the country’s institutions of higher and tertiary education at a venue to be finalised in consultation with the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Eaducation, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo.
13:43 – Cde Chipanga takes to the podium.
13:41 – Cde Muchando slams factionalism in the party, and salutes youths in the province, who he describes as disciplined.
13:35 – He calls on the government to re-introduce grants to students at tertiary institutions
13:28 – Zanu PF Midlands Provincial Chairperson, Cde Prosper Muchando takes to the podium, says the province rallies behind President Mugabe in next year’s elections.
13:25 – Vice Presidents Mphoko and Mnangagwa greet the crowd and chant party slogans.
13:24- Cde Hamandishe calls on Cde Chipanga to introduce Politburo members as the Youth Secretary advances to the podium chanting the slogan. He begins to introduce the Politburo as well the Central Committee members.
13:18 – Minister Patrick Zhuwao as youth minister chants the party slogan, followed by Cde Letina Undenge who chants on behalf of the Zanu-PF Women’s League
13:14 – Cde Hamandishe invites the provincial leadership to chant slogans.
13:13 – Cde Hamandishe invites a representative of Chief Goredema who performs a poetic ritual in honour of the President Mugabe’s visit to the Midlands Province.
13:10 – Zanu PF National Youth Commissar, Cde Innocent Hamandishe, who is the Master of Ceremonies (MC) invites Pastor Liberty Madzokere gives an opening prayer.
13:02 – Everyone is up for the singing of the National Anthem.
12:52 – Cde Mugabe is moving around the venue in an open truck greeting thousands of party supporters.
12:47 – We are now live on ZBCTV and Facebook (ZBC News Online) as the interface rally begins with the arrival of President Mugabe.
11:15 – Also remember that on arrival in Gweru, Cde Mugabe will officially open the provincial information centre, as has been the norm, before proceeding to the Mkoba open grounds near Mkoba Teachers College for the rally.
10:45 – Remember that we bring you live on ZBC Tv the proceedings at the interface rally once the President is at the venue. We will also be streaming live the event on our facebook page; ZBC News Online.
10:18 – Top Zanu PF officials, led by those who hail from the province, are already at the venue. I have already seen Dr Joram Gumbo (Mberengwa West MP), Cde Makhosini Hlongwane (Mberengwa East MP), Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Gokwe Nembudziya MP) and the National Secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde Kudzanai Chipanga.
10:17 – Midlands province also houses tertiary institutions such as the Midlands State University (MSU), Kwekwe Polytechnic, Gweru Polytechnic and Mkoba Teachers College.
10:12 – Midlands province is well-known for mining various minerals such as gold, platinum, chrome, diamonds and emeralds, hence it is home to Unki Mine, Zimasco, Ziscosteel, Murowa Diamonds, Mimosa and Shabanie Mine, just to mention a few.
10:10 – This interface rally comes after the nation laid to rest 3 national heroes and heroines; Cdes Shuvai Mahofa, George Rutanhire and Maud Muzenda.
09:15 – The rallies come in the wake of a bumper harvest recorded countrywide thanks to the Command Agriculture Programme.
09:12 – At other rallies, President Mugabe has urged young people to be self-enterprising as opposed to waiting for employment.
09:08 – The interface rallies are being organised by the Zanu PF Youth League with support from other party wings.
They give youths an opportunity to interact with the President, as well as mobilise youths to register to vote for the 2018 elections.
08:58 – President Mugabe has already held rallies in Marondera (Mashonaland East), Mutare (Manicaland), Masvingo, Lupane (Matabeleland North), Chinhoyi (Mashonaland West) and Gwanda (Matabeleland South) provinces.
08:50 – President Robert Mugabe this afternoon meets youths at the Mkoba open grounds in Gweru in the seventh of his Presidential Youth Interface rallies.