Siwela says Mugabe should not ignore calls for a separate state

ZAPU- Federal Party leader Paul Siwela has called on President Robert Mugabe not to brush off calls for a separate state from Matabeleland because the people from the region genuinely feel that his government is not serving them.

Siwela, whose party advocates a federal system of government which would make each region autonomous, said the voting patterns in the country have clearly indicated that the people of Matabeleland have never voted for President Mugabe, so he should listen to their concerns instead of brushing them off.

President Mugabe said at the weekend Zimbabwe would never be separated into different entities and those dreaming of dividing the country should forget about it.

He was responding to reports that Movement for Democratic Change vice-President Gibson Sibanda had called for a separate Ndebele State.

Sibanda has denied ever making such a statement.

Siwela said it was immaterial whether Sibanda had made the statement or not. What was important was that President Mugabe should investigate whether such feelings existed or not.

He said President Mugabe should talk to the genuine leaders of Matabeleland and not his cronies in ZANU-PF.

"The leaders of Matabeleland are definitely not in ZANU-PF. Those in ZANU-PF have been disowned by the people. He should not continue to talk to his 'poodles' in ZANU-PF because they will tell him what he wants to hear and not what the people feel," Siwela said.

He said people from Matabeleland felt that Mugabe was ignoring them and their needs because people from the region were not being given key posts in government such as heads of parastatals, ministers of key portfolios like foreign affairs or intelligence, and key ambassadorial posts like in the United Kingdom or United States.

He said even national resources were not being ploughed back into the region.

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