Presenting his keynote address, while officially opening of the Fifth Session of Zimbabwe’s Seventh Parliament, Mugabe praised the security forces for their role in foreign duties under the banner of the United Nations.
He also said Zimbabweans had the duty to “jealously guard the gains of our independence” and to police themselves during the election period as opposed to delegating the task to foreigners.
“To this end, I wish to appeal to all our leaders, followers of our parties and other organisations and stakeholders including the media to adopt the pledge to work genuinely for national unity and cohesion,” Mugabe said to a house packed with legislators from both chambers among them Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
“We are one. Lets’ remain united. Let us shun violence in all its manifestations and latent forms especially as we look forward to our national elections.”
President Mugabe insisted elections shall be held in March next year.
This is in spite of strong denials by his coalition partners he no longer enjoyed the privilege to decide on the date for the next polls.
Mugabe said the next polls must be held under a new constitution. He said the constitution process must be expedited.
Mugabe said his government will soon introduce the Constituency Development Bill to curb abuse of the government funds by corrupt legislators.
“To correct the irregularities detected following an audit of the constituency development fund, a Constituency Development Fund Bill, which will strengthen accountability in the funds’ management, shall be brought for debate by parliament during this session,” he said.
Mugabe highlighted strategies he said his government shall put in place during the current parliamentary session to improve power and fuel supply as well as mitigate the impact of drought among vulnerable citizens.
He also spoke of how government shall improve the operations of the national carrier, Air Zimbabwe and the expansion of roads and the up-liftment of Small to Medium Enterprises.
The veteran leader also said the current parliamentary session will see the enactment of the Attorney General’s Act, the crafting of the Zimbabwe diamond policy which will pave way for the enactment of the Diamond Act.
President Mugabe arrived at Parliament with his wife Grace shortly before mid-day in his traditional Rolls Royce vehicle, which was driven at a snail pace in a convoy of cars and horses.
Dozens of Zanu (PF) supporters were stationed at the adjacent Africa Unity Square where they sang in his praise.
The 88-year-old leader inspected the guard of honour mounted by members of the Presidential Guard.
The just opened parliamentary session is expected to be the most explosive in the life of the unity government with the anticipated holding of the referendum and the elections.