Vice President and Second Secretary Comrade Emmerson Mnangagwa and Amai Mnangagwa
Vice President and Second Secretary Comrade Phelelezela Mphoko and Amai Mphoko
Secretary for Administration, Comrade Ignatius Chombo
Members of the Politburo
Members of the Central Committee
Members of the National Consultative Assembly
Our host Minister Comrade Cain Mathema
War Veterans, Detainees, Restrictees and Collaborate
The Business Community and Various Interest Groups here present
Representative of the Sister Parties and Liberation Movements
Excellences’ Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Comrades and Friends
Today, ZANUPF convenes at the scenic Victoria Falls resort for the 15th National Peoples Conferences. The Conference is the high point on our annual political calendar, indeed the main event in between Congresses.
The choice of the venue for our Annual People’s Conference is always rotational, this to allow every Province an opportunity to host the party. This year it is Matabeleland North Province’s turn.
Congratulations Matabeleland North, and my deepest gratitude on the excellent facilities you have put at the disposal of our Party, all against challenge arising from the bad economic and climatic patch we are going through .I cannot think of a more defiant statement against the ensuing drought than hosting us here at the Falls ,itself a symbol of abundant water that flows perennially.
During the liberation struggle, the mighty Zambezi was a formidable obstacle for our fighters. But it was also a crucible that tested our mettle as a fighting people. Through little boats- TUMWADIYA – the fighters overcame this formidable barrier ,tamed it so it becomes a resource of struggle .Today it lifts our Nation as a key attraction of tourism .Comrades, ladies and gentlemen, this is the Victoria Falls, the mighty Zambezi on whose edge we meet to close what has been a wonderful, events-filled year .I warmly welcome you all with a heart that gushes love and comradeship.
Today’s Fifteenth Annual National People’s Conference finds us well over two years into our governing mandate which we overwhelmingly secured from our people in the 2013 harmonized elections. It is a result which became something of tsunami for the opposition which seems on an endless spiral of splits and splinters. They have now run out of suffixes by which to differentiate each shard – MDC this MDC that and they have had to invent new appellations to keep pace with their never ending splits. Very soon that too, shall run out.
But a progressive Party goes beyond romancing past victories. It work towards new exploits, new triumphs, new benchmarks . It is at meeting like this that winning strategies are wrought and kneaded ,ready for use in the year to come. And as we move from one year to another, all the time unfurling our programs informed by clear strategies, each year then marks a block that build towards another resounding victory. We do not wait for 2018. We make it, we work it, every day, every month, every year!
The party is a living political tissue that grows daily through well thought-out deeds, through meaningful interaction with the People in their daily living circumstances. What have the people eaten today? Where is the food coming from? What are they short of? How is that overcome or addressed? How are they preparing for the season, for tomorrow? what are their aspirations? what frustrates them?
Have their children gone to school? Do they have books; are they well clad in uniforms? Are the fees paid? has their produce gone to the market has it been paid for ?
All these questions and the search for answers to them, gets the Party closer to the lives of our people, in their humble circumstances, closer to the pith. And from that pith, the Party derives succor, generates the momentum for future victories.
That we are more than two years into our renewed mandate means we are under three years from the next polls, which are never won on the polling day. They are won cumulatively, through daily deeds for our people.
Let me pay tribute to the Women’s League for ensuring that Party activities remain a weekly feature in communities. They have worked well with the Youth and we can Judge the impact of their work from the shrill and consternation coming from opposition parties. I am sure our Leaguers will be able to share with the Conference some of their strategies and programmes which have kept the Party going, and also closer to our people in what has proved to be a very challenging and uncertain year, especially agriculturally.
The Conference finds us two years into the implementation of ZIMASSET, our economic blueprint, spread over five years, which began in October 2013. ZIMASSET is our plan for ministering to the need of our people. It is a tool which the Party, expressing its will through it Government, deploys to ensure answers to all those questions exercising the minds of our people.
We have just completed a mid-term review of ZIMASSET, and it is clear we are on course towards setting the scene for sustainable economic recovery and growth. Yes, our people still face challenges presently, challenges made worse by the current drought which comes in a situation of spiteful sanctions. But the shoots for a new day are already evident, shoots set to bloom sooner.
This in essence is what ZIMASSET is about: preparing the groundwork for our economic recovery and eventual growth.
This Conference will have an opportunity to unpack and interrogate all the facets of ZIMASSET, especially in the light of experiences we have gained in its implementation.
The Conference convenes nearly four months after our handing over the chairmanship of SADC to Botswana. We did our year in the chair, during which the far-reaching regional industrialization and value-addition policy was adopted by SADC. Let history record that the SADC industrialization policy was broached and eventually adopted this year in Harare.
The vehicle for neo-colonizing Southern Africa and the rest of our continent has been keeping us at the primary level of supplying the developed, capitalist world with raw materials. We have exported irreplaceable raw minerals; thus undermining jobs creation at home. Our strength lies processing all our job creation at home. Our strength lie in processing all our resources on the continent, thereby creating jobs and value for our people.
Yes, the fifteenth Annual People’s Conference comes when we are about a month away from passing on the baton of African Union leadership. Under Zimbabwe’s leadership, the African Union Launched its Agenda 2063, a broad continental plan for the next fifty years.
Under our leadership the AU has met successfully emerging economies of India, Turkey and China, with a view to forging partnerships. The G20 Summit in Turkey saw Zimbabwe soar above Caucasian prejudice, saw it take it up its place in a key forum, shaping the global political economy. We spoke for Africa, spoke for the poor on this globe.
The just-ended COPE 21 held in France and focusing on climate change, was a climax to this process of challenging attempts to isolate us. Indeed, our chairmanship of both SADC and the AU gave us two unique platforms from which to rattle the cage of the illegal sanctions spitefully slapped on our people by Europeans and Americans.
While we have seen some gesture moves towards undoing sanctions by the Europeans, the Americans remain implacably and inexplicably hostile to us. Their position of hostility towards us, unjust as it is remain unchanged, and in some cases, getting worse. They continue to impair us economically but without stating what their grievances against us is.
We may have to live with a hostile America, which is why we must intensify our diplomacy and out search for alternatives. But one thing is clear we are not bending. We stand by principle, assert our sovereignty and defend our right to chart our own destiny, partnering whoever is friendly towards us. Those sanctions remain unjust, illegal, uncalled for and only fit for immediate, unconditional removal.
This western hostility notwithstanding the year was quite eventful for our Nation. Most noteworthy is the just ended historic visit by the Chinese President, Comrade Xi Jinping, together with the subsequent Forum for China Africa Cooperation which was held in Johannesburg South Africa.
Both events amounted to an apogee to our Look East Policy, which our party and government developed and launched, initially to great skepticism and cynicism. Today the whole world is looking East with us, itself a clear indication that the global geo-political epicenter has shifted irrevocably, providing interstices of opportunities for us
Read together with the wonderful support in agriculture which we have got from Brazil, the investment we are getting from Russia, and of course the support we continue to have from India, it is clear our search for alternative development partners, well away from the traditional, domineering West, is beginning to bear fruit.
As a Party, Our wish and ambition has always been to found a model in which our politics and our economics reconcile and harmonize. We may very well be on the Cusp of realizing just that. The day will soon come when our anti-imperialist politics will stand on an independent, growing national economy in which our people are its true, empowered masters. That is our Vision.
Zanu-PF is a party of liberation. It is the great party of great leaders like Joshua Nkomo, Takawira, Samuel Parirenyatwa, Josiah Chinamano, Herbert Chitepo, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, Simon Muzenda and many others. It has a stature. It has a legacy. Above all, it has an ideology, value and tradition. Hausi musangano wenjake-njake, a party with many mouths bickering mouths – spouting unseemly words that pretend to be Zanu-PF messages. We have a way and tradition of doing business in Zanu-PF, the Zanu-PF way. Those who are new or junior in the party, must study our ways, tried and tested ways, on the bases of which this great party has been built.
We have positions in the party, positions that are well-graded and connected to yield a hierarchy which is also a command chain. No position, no structure, stands alone, aloof unconnected. No person falls outside the command and direction of the Party, standing as an island apart. Then they cannot be Zanu-PF, only loners to be pitied.
Lately, we have seen a spectacle of indiscipline, spectacle of big-headedness. Dirty things and agendas are projected and pursued in the name of the President, his wife. In the name of Vice President Mnangagwa; in the name of vice President Mphoko. In the name of this or that Party organ.
We have seen a proliferation of little organizations that act and speak in the name of the Party. They do not exist in our structures, are unknown to the leadership, and certainly do not espouse the ideology of our Party, let alone its values. Who are these people? Who is behind them? What is their goal? Who pays them? ,sends them?, direct these confusionists? We cannot run a Party like that, as if there is no order.
Zanu-PF does not have within its ranks, an organ called ‘’the private press’’. Our only organ and paper is, ‘’The People’s Voice’’. We know who created the private press. We know who funds and sponsors the vile messages they daily spew against Zanu-PF, its goals and its leadership.
How then does a person who claims to be a genuine cadre of the Party consort with an institution we know to be hostile to the Party? The private press do not attend our Politburo meetings .The private press are not members of the Central Committee.
I don’t recall appointing anyone from their number as my Minister of Government. They don’t sit in my Cabinet.
Yet matters placed before all those key organs of the Party and Government, find their way to private press newsroom. Who is feeding them? It is some of us, leaders and office-bearers, both in the Party and in Government. To what end? To achieve what?
Do they seek to cut careers outside the Party and Government. Let them get out of the Party then! Or we will kick them out. We will not have this level of indiscipline in 2016. No one in the Party and in my Government will brief against the Party and Government. We have a mechanism for bringing the culprits to book. They are anti-Party, anti-Government and against this Nation.
I have in my mind a copy of the Central Committee Report to this Forum. It is detailed without being cumbersome, expansive without wearing you down. It is eminently readable and provides a good summary of activities executed by each Department of the Party in the year that is about to come to a close. All told, 22 Departments are covered, their activities for the year spelt out. It is a fair and honest representation of the year’s work. From it, we should be able to adduce what needs to be done in the year to come. I therefore commend the report to you laying it on the table for your adoption.
I thank you.