Harare(New Ziana)-President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday said Zimbabweans should be united and reject opposition calls for violent demonstrations.
The opposition had called for protests on Friday countrywide, ostensibly against top-level corruption, but the government suspected ulterior political motives after the discovery of the involvement of foreign diplomatic missions.
But Zimbabweans ignored the calls to protest.
Addressing mourners at the burial of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrence Shiri at the National Heroes Acre, President Mnangagwa said proponents of violence must be ignored.
“Let us who remain draw lessons from the illustrious life of our late national hero Cde Shiri. We need peace, peace , perfect peace for national development. Let us shun strife; let us shun violence and disunity. Proponents of such divisive and heinous acts must be rejected and exposed.
“We must as Zimbabweans continue on the path of peace. Building peace, entrenching peace, choosing peace and national unity over war, divisions and instability,” he said.
Shiri succumbed to Covid-19 on Wednesday and his burial was supervised by health officials in line with World Health Organisation guidelines.
President Mnangagwa took the opportunity to plead with striking health workers to return to work, to strengthen the country’s fight against Covid-19.
“We must stop the scourge of Covid-19 itself a global pandemic. It spares no one. Great or small. Our nations of the world are suffering from its impact with figures of infections and deaths daily rising.
“In unity and through discipline we stand a chance to save our nation from the impact of its menace. I call on our medical staff to act in the national interest and exhibit a great sense of responsibility. My government hears your cries, listens to your concerns but the time to serve is now. Your grievances which we acknowledge and continue to address cannot be enjoyed at the expense of loss of lives.
“When the pandemic spreads and death toll rises, there are no winners, none at all. We will all die,” he said.
He added: “I therefore urge all of us to continue to act with care to prevent the spread of the deadly pandemic. Let us stay at home, wear masks in public and practice social distancing and good hygiene.”
Health workers embarked on a nationwide strike citing incapacitation.
The President described the late Minister as a highly committed and adaptable public servant.
“The lasting tribute we should give to him is to carry on from where he left. We will build more dams for greater water harvesting, we will couple these dams to fulfil production through irrigation systems. Indeed we shall equip our farmers with better knowledge through effective extension services.
“To Cde Shiri, my dear brother, our dear departed Cde, our freedom fighter, I say, you gallantly fought and freed your country and people the land has come, your people are liberated and are free. You protected your people and defended your nation. Zimbabwe is sovereign, secure and stable. You worked hard and tirelessly for your people. Zimbabwe shall prosper. We thank you our Cde. Go well son of the soil,” said President Mnangagwa.