‘Let’s lead by example’

Zanu PF First Secretary and President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa addresses delegates at the revolutionary party's extraordinary congress in Harare yesterday.-(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Zanu PF First Secretary and President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa addresses delegates at the revolutionary party’s extraordinary congress in Harare yesterday.-(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Ndatenda! Ndatenda! Ndatenda!
Ngiyabonga! Ngiyabonga! Ngiyabonga!
This morning when I made my opening remarks, I was your interim President and I was your interim President so I was careful of what I said, and I was neutral. Now that I am your President, I feel free to say what I think.
I will give my closing statement first, then I will move on to make some appointments.

This morning I opened this memorable and historic Extraordinary Session of our Party Congress which was convened specifically to ratify the resolutions of the Special Session of the Central Committee held on 19th November 2017. To this end, allow me to applaud you all as Congress delegates here gathered, for the manner you conducted today’s programme. I am emboldened and uplifted by the resolve, clarity and decisiveness with which you endorsed and concluded our deliberations.

This Extraordinary Congress, attended by over 6 000, in fact I am told over 7 000 Party members from across the country, proves, as if proof were needed, that ours is a Party full of committed and devoted cadres. We are indeed a competent and forward thinking Party able to define a new vision, without being swayed from its founding and defining principles, as it enters a New Era. I salute each and every one of you. I am proud to be your comrade. I am proud to call you my comrades.

I would like to express, my profound gratitude to the Party, as represented by Congress delegates here present, for confirming me as the President and First Secretary of our revolutionary Party and also endorsing me as the Party’s Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming 2018 Harmonised General Elections. Thank you for finding me worthy of your trust, worthy to be the leader and servant of this colossal Party. I beseech you Comrades, to keep those steadying and supporting hands on me as I assume this onerous role. I appeal for your continued honest and frank counsel, for your forbearance, kind and generous judgment, as we chart a new trajectory in our Party and Government, never losing sight of the milestones we have achieved in the past.

Let us be mindful that Zanu-PF is not the Party of its leader, but the Party of its members, a Party for us all. As your President and First Secretary, I am the first among equals, but equals we are. Each individual cadre is essential and each individual cadre will help shape our destiny. We are bound and interwoven inextricably by the threads of our Party Constitution, by individual and collective duties therein stated. Let us vow from today, to uphold, respect and defend our Party Constitution for it binds us, unites us and defines us. Let us protect it at all costs.

Comrade delegates,
As we part ways I want to assure you that the Party and Government will continue with serious introspection as we chart a better course for us all, for now and posterity. I stated in my Inauguration Speech to the State Presidency and as reflected in the 2018 National Budget Statement, the task at hand is that of rebuilding our great country. Government will leave no stone unturned to fully exploit the country’s rich resource base for the benefit of all people, and to improve the livelihoods of all who consider Zimbabwe home.

For the avoidance of doubt let me assure Congress, the Party membership and the nation at large, that the principle of repossessing our land cannot be challenged or reversed. To do so would be a betrayal of the brave men and women who fell in our protracted war of liberation, those who sacrificed their lives in our quest to regain our land. Indeed, land and agriculture are at the core to us as a people and central to our economy.

In recognition of this centrality, Government will through the newly-reconstituted Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement ensure that appropriate policy instruments are put in place to support all categories of farmers, be it A1, A2, resettled or communal farmers; with focus being on productivity and maximum utilisation of all agriculture land.

Congress will be pleased to note that as announced in the National Budget Statement, the Zanu-PF Government will continue to fund the Command Agriculture Programme and the Presidential Inputs Scheme. In addition to supporting traditional crops, Government has increased support for small grains, soyabeans and cotton. I am aware that some of us have been experiencing some challenges with regards to accessing seed and fertilisers from GMB depots in our provinces while others have experienced great congestion and delays at depots. Let me assure you all that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is looking into the matter and I am confident that the issues are being competently attended to. Meanwhile, let us all work hard to ensure that the 2017/2018 agriculture season is a tremendous success.

Going forward, Government will facilitate an enabling environment that ensures success throughout the agro-value chain. Funds have been set aside to boost agriculture productivity at a disaggregated level. In this regard, Government will harness our irrigation potential and ensure maximum utilisation of existing idle water bodies. Resources have thus been availed towards irrigation rehabilitation and development, with at least 200 hectares per district targeted to be implemented annually for the next 10 years.

With the anticipated improvement of productivity in cropping, we have put in place measures to increase our harvesting capacity, through the importation of combine harvesters, driers and other agricultural equipment. Plans are in place to manage post harvest losses and expand our storage facilities.

Meanwhile, we remain alive to the need to protect our vast forests throughout the country and especially in the Eastern Highlands. The responsible Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate is looking into all these matters together with an accelerated thrust for reforestation, growing of fruit trees and the prevention of veldt fires.

Comrade delegates,
It was only yesterday that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement launched the Command Livestock, Fisheries and Wild Life Programme. Through this programme, funding will be availed for increasing the national herd and other livestock, as well as revitalising the dairy sector. Resources will also be set aside to develop the fishing industry at community level by distributing fingerlings for fish breeding purposes. At a national scale we seek to fully exploit the Tokwe -Mukosi Dam and complete the Gwayi-Shangani Dam to benefit both communities and also the cropping and fisheries sub-sectors.

In addition, the development of pastures; the improvement of the quality of our livestock breeds through artificial insemination; the control and management of livestock diseases as well as the erection of fencing boundaries will be equally prioritised.

Comrade delegates,
I am confident that these vast interventions in the agricultural sector will improve our fortunes not only as a country, but principally, at household level. In the quest to unlock the maximum benefits from our primary products and translate these to dollars in both the national purse and people’s pockets, we are intensifying our efforts on value addition, beneficiation and industrialisation. Communities and the membership of the Party should fully exploit these opportunities as active participants.

As a result of various financial facilities from multi-lateral and bi-lateral organisations, we are expecting that our industries will soon be re-tooled, the National Railways of Zimbabwe revitalised and the Harare-Beitbridge Highway dualised. In the same vein, we will accelerate implementation of the Special Economic Zones which will attract new foreign investment. The in-roads made to date in the mining sector coupled with untapped potential as well as emerging partnerships point to the fact that economic recovery is imminent.

We will also open Zimbabwe up to investment by building an open, free and transparent economy, which benefits Zimbabweans and is welcoming to outsiders.

These initiatives, across all sectors, demonstrate that we have begun a new journey towards real growth and investment to empower our people. This thrust will undoubtedly translate to more jobs, more jobs and more jobs and a better living standard for all.

On my part, I assure you that these are not pipe dreams. Government will move with haste to ensure that all agreed programmes become a reality in the shortest possible period. Both the Party and its Government will no longer be about talk, but about work and delivery. That, I assure you.

Comrade Delegates,
Allow me to turn to a matter which I know is of great concern to us all, that of cash shortages. I realise that people still have very little access to their hard earned cash. The frustration is felt more so now as we prepare for the festive season and thereafter the beginning of the school term. My Government remains committed to redress the structural problems that have resulted in this state of affairs.

To this end, comprehensive measures will be rolled out to address this issue starting of course with fiscal discipline, drastic reduction of the budget deficit and increased productivity. I urge all of us to be patient; soon we will see the benefits of the new economic era. Meanwhile, I exhort all retailers and service providers to desist from wantonly increasing prices. I urge us to stop profiteering tendencies; let us have the people at heart; let us give our new economic era a chance. We can achieve this by working together and putting our nation first.

I would like to equally assure the Party that Government will give due attention to the social services sector, health, education, the rehabilitation of our road infrastructure and attend to the housing needs of our population throughout the country, at all levels, not just in major towns. On housing delivery, we will return to proper planning of settlements and provision of the requisite development infrastructure such as roads, water, sanitation and power. The age of land barons is over, so too is the age of haphazard settlements which crop up overnight. All who were perpetrators of this corrupt and untenable practice must stand warned.

As a people, let us respect our values, our traditional leaders, and uphold the values of Ubuntu/Hunhu in all spheres of life. We are Zimbabweans; let us be proud of our heritage, proud of our history and identity, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, individually or as a nation. Let us boldly step out of the past disgraces, and past disappointments. Let us step into the future which we can successfully build together.

Comrade Delegates,
Corruption, corruption, corruption! Let us vow as a Party that this evil must come to an end Now! As a Party let us stop corruption. Let us be exemplary in our conduct and dealings with society. Let us never allow people to use their Party membership as a cover to be corrupt, to cut corners doing shady deals. This Party should never be a haven for corrupt opportunists and the vile of our society, No! No! No!.

The need for discipline as Party members cannot be over-emphasised as it is the pre-requisite if the Party is to score successes in all its endeavours. Political disciple begins with observing and safeguarding the Party Constitution. I urge all of us to be always mindful of the Duties of Members stated in the constitution, which I alluded to earlier, found in Article 3 section 21 subsections 1 to 6. In the same vein, we all have an inalienable responsibility to jealously safeguard the unity of the Party.

During my Keynote Address, I said that the era of factionalism is behind us and indeed many echo this call. However, we will be judged by our actions, not words. For all our commitments to unity, if one party cadre turns on another, if cadres begin demonstrating or speaking out against one other; if cadres try to take revenge on those who in the past were affiliated with different groupings; then all our words will have been in vain.

We cannot be hostages of past grievances; bygones must be bygones!. As I pledged earlier, l will be the leader of all Party members irrespective of one’s stance or standing in times past. I equally expect the same from all Party members. That is the nature of our Party, it is for everyone. It does not fit in anyone’s pocket!

Let us turn over a new leaf and renew ourselves. There will be those who look for opportunities to claim that nothing has changed. We must lead by example. Each one of our members must conduct him or herself in a way that embodies the spirit and values of this great revolutionary Party.

The Party itself must also set an exemplary example of the kind of new course we are on as a nation. In the recent past, the Party and its prominent members have at times demonstrated extravagance and wastefulness not befitting a revolutionary, liberation movement. No more. In this new era, we will once again be a frugal, humble institution whose every fibre is dedicated to the wellbeing of the Zimbabwean people. The decision to cut the length and budget of this Congress was taken within this spirit, and as a clear signal of our intentions.

Comrade Delegates,
We have a crucial year ahead of us, with two main goals. We must again win the support and trust of the Zimbabwean people in the 2018 Harmonised General elections, so that they elect us to lead them for another five years. And we must resurrect the economy, delivering real gains for each and every citizen of this great nation.

These two tasks are interconnected. We will only win at the ballot box if we can show signs that we are reviving our economy; and at the same time, we will only be able to make real economic gains if we can secure re-election. Therefore, I see these two domains, the political and the economic, as equally significant for our future. Hence the Party must be about politics and economics!

On the political front, we must all acknowledge that we inhabit a rapidly changing world, and our success will be dependent on how well we adapt. Almost half of all Zimbabweans were born in this millennia, and over three quarters have been born since independence. These young people have different expectations, and their skill set and technological knowhow is completely different to those born even a decade before.

They also have different experiences. The frame of reference for this generation are the economic struggles of the past decade, we must also listen to them. We must hear their hopes and fears. Our youths want to know how we will create jobs and opportunities for them. We must provide them with answers, rooted in the future.

We must not only develop a strong bond with the young Zimbabweans, but we must also encourage them to be part of our structures for only then will our Party guarantee existence in the future. Meanwhile, more effort must be put towards policy interventions which deliberately empower women with sustainable business opportunities. The Women’s League, during its mobilisation activities must keep its membership abreast with regards business possibilities, across all the economic sectors.

The Party will harness the collective experience from those fraternal parties who assisted us during our war of liberation and steadfastly supported us in the post independence of our country. To this end, we will see intensified and more coordinated approach to ideological training under the auspices of the Chitepo Ideological College.

As we approach the 2018 Harmonised General Elections, let me reiterate that these will be credible, free and fair. We must always be mindful that no Party, however rich its past, has a divine right to govern. That is something we must earn at the ballot box. As such, the Party must invigorate its structures, organise, mobilise and rigorously ensure that all its members are registered voters. If we do this, we are sure to renew the sacred trust that exists between Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwean people, and we will prevail in the 2018 elections. In the next few months we will be informing you the concrete plans with regard to these elections.

Comrade Delegates,
As a young man, I joined this Party because I believed in it. I believed that it was the Party of liberation, of development, of independence, and most of all, the Party of hope. Standing before you today many decades later, as the new leader of this proud revolutionary and evolving Party, let me assure you that I still believe in this Party because of what it has achieved, and also, importantly, because of what it still can achieve. The Party I believe in is a united, progressive and forward-thinking Party. A democratic Party, committed to transparency, freedom and human rights. An optimistic Party, offering hope and opportunities to all Zimbabweans. A listening Party that understands the hopes and fears of our fellow citizens. And a bold Party that offers solutions to the challenges Zimbabwe faces today.

As we bring this extraordinary Congress to a close and return to our provinces, each and every one of us has a job to do. We are all responsible for bringing this message to the country side.

Comrades Delegates,
Go out and show that Zanu-PF members are humble, honest and patriotic Zimbabweans! Go out and show that Zanu-PF is not only about the past, but the future! Go out and share our vision for the new Zimbabwe! Because together, we will win the election. Together, we will unlock the economic potential of our beloved homeland. Together, we will build a new, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe for all. I wish you journey mercies as you travel back to your provinces. I also wish you a Happy Christmas and a success filled 2018.

God Bless You!
God bless our Party Zanu-PF!
God bless Zimbabwe!
Pamberi ne Zanu-PF
Pamberi ne Central Committee
Pamberi neku batana
Pamberi Negwara reMusangano
Pamberi neku wina maElections
Pasi nekusada kushanda.
Pasi ne Corruption
I thank you.

Article Source: The Herald