Zanu-PF President and First Secretary Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday officially opened the the ruling party’s 17th National People’s Conference at Umzingwane High School, Esigodini. Below is the President’s speech in full . . .
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Comrades and Friends
It is my singular honour and pleasure to address this 17th National People’s Conference which is running under the theme “Zimbabwe is Open for Business: In Unity and Peace Towards Vision 2030”. This conference is momentous and historic as it is the first being held following the advent of the Second Republic which was ushered in after our party’s thunderous victory in the July 30th harmonised general elections.
On behalf of our party, I greet and welcome you all to this yearly gathering which bridges the periods between our party’s five-yearly congresses. I also welcome, in a very special way, our esteemed invited guests from sister liberation movements and other political parties who are with us today.
We commend and value the solidarity and fraternal relations which continue to exist between our respective parties. Allow me to specifically express our gratitude to the Communist Party of China (CPC), who continue to support us in our political and socio-economic development.
Distinguished Delegates, Comrades and Friends;
This conference comes on the backdrop of a very eventful year which witnessed the holding of our watershed general harmonised elections on July 30th 2018. It was indeed a crucial election held under a more open, transparent, peaceful and democratic political environment. As a party, we called for unity, peace, love and harmony during the campaign period. I commend all the structures and wings of the party for heeding this call during and after the election period. I appeal to us to entrench this non-violent culture going forward.
Meanwhile, I have since received the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence of 1st August 2018 and I will be making it public next week.
Allow me to congratulate the party, at every level for the good showing at the elections. The over two thirds majority at the National Assembly and the 50,67 percent in the Presidential election was by no means a small feat. The law requires a presidential majority of 50 percent + 1 vote for one to be declared the State President; however, our revolutionary party won by over 400 000 votes. Well done and thank you. We were given a fresh mandate to govern. We should be extremely proud of ourselves and that thunderous victory stands testimony to the deep faith our people have in the party, its policies and programmes.
The votes came from all corners of the country and it was a resounding vote for which I am truly grateful. Your vigorous programmes and activities yielded notable results. I say to you all, thank you, siyabonga, tinotenda.
In spite of our convincing win, the losing Presidential candidate of the main opposition party took us to court refusing to accept the majority vote of the people. This culminated in a Constitutional Court ruling which confirmed me the winner as was decided by the people through the ballot.
I urge members of the party not to be deterred by those who continue to make irritating noises. As ZANU-PF, we have no agenda for a GNU. Let us instead continue with our people-centred and driven policies, focusing on rebuilding the economy, increasing productivity, hard, honest work, wealth and job creation, fighting corruption and improving the overall quality of life of our people.
We should all be warned from complacency due to our impressive showing at this year’s elections. The voting patterns and subsequent results along with the general needs of the people across the country compels us to work harder in building the party starting from the cells/villages, upwards. We must implement sustainable development programmes and fulfil the promises we made to the electorate in our manifesto. As we work with 2023 in mind, I challenge us all to individually and collectively introspect and pledge ourselves to be faithful and loyal to the ideals, values and principles of the party. We must be totally committed to the party and its leadership.
This conference is being held against the backdrop of an economy which is characterised by fuel shortages, high cost of drugs, medicines, farming inputs and fertilisers as well as a wide range of basic commodities.
We condemn the opportunistic and gluttonous triple pricing regime practices by some business persons, which have resulted in untold suffering to the majority of our people.
Government along with industry continues to dialogue and interrogate the cost build-ups towards finding lasting solutions which will bring permanent relief to consumers and greater stability to the economy. We also need to address the question of our own domestic currency, once the correct economic fundamentals are in place.
This gathering, however, remains timely and presents us with an opportunity to reorient, refocus, rejuvenate, and re-engineer our party to make it adapted to new times, realities and new political dynamics grounded in economic ethos and aspirations.
The onus is upon us to come up with key economic-oriented resolutions for implementation by Government.
Our country has immense growth potential embedded in every sector of our economy. Through a protracted liberation struggle, we attained our political independence and subsequently our land. It is critical that we use that land to develop our agriculture and maintain the food self-sufficiency we currently enjoy. The ongoing audit by the Land Commission should result in more land being availed for further redistribution.There is greater need to mechanise and modernise our agriculture, introduce new adaptive seed varieties and new farming methods. We are determined to accelerate the modernisation and expansion of our irrigation infrastructure across all provinces. In addition, we have put in place concrete plans to improve our water harvesting capacity to mitigate the impact of drought and climate change.
Meanwhile, I challenge farmers at every level to broaden their range of crops to include cash crops and those that provide feedstock into the agro-value chain industries. We must increase the growing of soyabeans, wheat, sunflower, groundnuts, cotton, along with other horticulture crops. I challenge the party to take a lead in mobilising our people to be active participants in this regard.
Comrades and Friends;
Government will continue to support farmers through the Presidential Input Support Scheme and the Command Agriculture Programme. The distribution of inputs under these schemes is being expedited to ensure farmers get inputs in good time.
In the same vein the party has to mobilise citizens in their respective areas to participate in the livestock, fisheries and wildlife programmes. We have, to date, begun distributing livestock under the Command Livestock Programme to beneficiaries in the Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and Masvingo provinces. The programme will spread to other provinces in the coming year.
Relatedly, the restructuring of the Cold Storage Commission, among other initiatives, will bring greater impetus to the beef industry. I call upon stakeholders in the livestock sector to play a more pro-active role in the development of pastures and contemporary animal husbandry practices. Meanwhile, through the relevant authorities, food-deficient areas will receive the requisite allocation of grain for their needs; no one should starve of hunger, the country has enough strategic grain reserves.
Our esteemed traditional leaders are urged to strengthen, modernise and revamp the “Zunde Ramambo/Isiphala Senkosi” philosophy. The programme must be inclusive taking into cognisance the local resource endowments.
The manufacturing sector is steadily growing and capacity utilisation has now risen to 50 percent. This has seen the opening up and expansion of various manufacturing companies throughout our provinces (Arenel, Tregers, Turning Matabeleland Green Tomato Plant, Willowton, Cairns., Davipel, Pepsi, Nestle, etc.) This has seen thousands of direct and indirect jobs created.
Distinguished Delegates, Comrades and Friends;
The mining sector continues to rapidly grow. Last year we achieved 24 tonnes and to date we have already exceeded the 30-tonne mark for gold production. Our small-scale mining sector continues to anchor the growth of the sector. We recognise the contribution of both Matabeleland South and North in the realisation of this success story. Some previously closed mines have been reopened throughout our various provinces resulting in the creation of more jobs for our people.
In terms of capacitating the small-scale mining sector, we have opened gold mining centres in three provinces and more will be opened in the coming year. On the other hand, the mining and processing of new minerals such as lithium is set to create employment and help drive our modernisation and industrialisation agenda.
Government recently approved the Diamond Policy, which will see the country realise maximum benefits of this valuable resource. We will continue to facilitate the creation of policies that encourage value addition and beneficiation of our mineral resource endowments.
Following our realisation that we can develop our roads from both our local skills and internal resources, the commencement of the rehabilitation, upgrading, widening and dualisation of our roads has begun in earnest. Works on the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare-Chirundu highway and the Plumtree-Bulawayo-Harare-Mutare road are underway.
The Beitbridge Border Post and the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road are also set to be modernised. In addition, we have begun an intensive programme to rehabilitate urban and rural roads as well as throughout the country. Government remains committed to the rehabilitation of our national railway network. All these projects will create jobs, and help us leverage on our land-linked status as well as our strategic geographical location as a regional gateway.
Through the support of the People’s Republic of China, our energy sector has seen massive expansion.
Kariba South Power Station Extension Project was commissioned, adding 300 megawatts to the national power output. The construction of Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Stations has commenced. This project will create over 3 000 direct and indirect jobs and ultimately result in energy self-sufficiency, which is key to our industrialisation strategy.
Negotiations with a potential investor in the Batoka Gorge Hydropower Station are advanced. This is a joint project with Zambia and once completed, will add 1 200 megawatts to the national grid. Investments in renewable energy sources are also being encouraged.
Our tourism sector is on a recovery path with increased tourist arrivals. We must encourage border participation by our people so that they take full advantage of the potential sector.
In our social service sector, Government will continue to prioritise policies which promote quality education and health provision. The construction of schools in marginalised areas will be accelerated. No child should have to walk more than five kilometres to get to school.
We continue to re-orient and transform academic institutions to be more responsive to industry and aligned to the national economic trajectory. Institutions of higher learning must be centres for inventions, innovations and business incubation. They should be fountains of knowledge as well as hubs where patriotic young people with inquisitive minds for entrepreneurship, research and innovation are groomed and nurtured.
We are seized with challenges in our health services sector. We appeal to those in the health services sector to always balance between matters of their welfare and the need to save human lives. The availability and cost of medicines and drugs remain a source of great concern, impressing on the urgent need to resuscitate our pharmaceutical industry. The practice of selling medicines in foreign currency must stop.
In today’s fast changing and globalised world, ICTs are an indispensable necessity. While Government has rolled out ICTs, radio, and television transmission signals to remote areas, we will quicken the pace of implementation of the programme. All our people in every part of the country must have access to local broadcasting and telecommunications services. Mobile networks must spread their services to remote areas so that more of our people can enjoy the convenience of mobile money services.
As a party, we recognise varied natural resource endowments in our respective provinces and that people in the provinces must benefit from the resources in their communities. Government, guided by the party, is putting the legislative framework to implement devolution. This is set to see the actualisation of the concept of provincial economies. The recently announced Budget allocated a total of $310 million towards this programme.
In implementing devolution, let us always remain mindful that we are a unitary state, with diverse cultures, languages, beliefs and religions. We must therefore use this concept for economic advancement as a vehicle to propel development. Devolution must improve the quality of life of all our people, in every corner of the country, as we strive to become a middle income economy by 2030.
The need to preserve the environment for sustainable development remains fundamental. We recently designated the first Friday of every month between 8 and 10 in the morning to clean our environment.
The 15th of December is the National Tree Planting Day. We urge the party to mobilise its structures to play an active and visible role in these programmes.
To achieve the modern, prosperous society we envisage to become, we must cleanse ourselves from retrogressive tendencies such as corruption, selfishness, economic sabotage, indiscipline and immorality, among other ills. The party should never be a haven for any of these vices. We must be honest, hardworking, transparent, disciplined and selfless in all our activities.
These are values and national ethos which must be ingrained in us, to bequeath to future generations. All responsible authorities must work more concertedly to eliminate corruption and other ills affecting our society. I further exhort the structures of the party to also vigorously fight these scourges at every level.
As we drive the economic vision, I challenge the women, youths, veterans of the liberation struggle, along with each and every one of us to play our part in building the Second Republic. We established the Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank and Empower Bank as empowerment tools. I exhort women, youths and war veterans to use these entities to set up and grow businesses that will impact our economy, create wealth and jobs for our people.
Meanwhile, we must continue to recruit more members and groom them to vote for the party in our next harmonised general elections, in 2023. Let us stimulate educative and informative debates on all media platforms. These must speak to our party’s ideology, whose history and vision is embedded in unity, peace and development. Our party values must therefore permeate in all that we do.
We commend and applaud the effective and dynamic mobilisation campaign strategies of both the Women and the Youth Leagues which contributed to our victorious showing during this year’s election. During this conference it follows that, the wings must engage in frank, honest and candid discussions which drive our party forward. Thereafter, it is our expectation that they will use their numerical advantage to galvanise their members for more active participation at all levels and spheres of the economy.
Our Government is carrying out its reforms and rebuilding programmes as guided by the party manifesto. We have introduced the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and the Vision, “Towards a prosperous and empowered upper middle income society by 2030”; which will be realised through the key strategic clusters, namely:
Macro-economic stability and re-engagement.
Infrastructure and utilities.
Social development; and
Under this programme, our Government has accelerated efforts towards maintaining fiscal discipline and reducing the budget deficit. As such, we continue to introduce measures to stabilise the economy, promote local production and productivity, whilst increasing exports across all sectors.
On the legislative front, we have a calendar of legislative Bills covering the completion of the alignment of our laws to the Constitution. The amendment of certain pieces of legislation, such as POSA and AIPPA, will also be attended to.
As we begin the business of this conference, our deliberations must be underpinned by these broad perspectives, in order to drive the implementation of our policies and programmes. Furthermore, the discussions must be in tandem with the present thrust of the Second Republic.
Our resolutions must therefore be the plan for the year ahead and reflect on our willingness to incrementally fulfil our promises to the people. Concrete implementation strategies should also be an integral component of this year’s resolutions.
Let us understand and remain empathetic towards the plight of the people, their sentiments, always grasping their needs and priorities. In doing so, we must be flexible, adaptable and supportive of changes as we journey towards the Zimbabwe we all want.
I would like once again, to express my sincere gratitude to all delegates and members for their continued support and loyalty to the party and its leadership.
Allow me to now table the Central Committee Report to this 17th national People’s Conference. This report outlines the activities undertaken by the various departments of the party during the course of the year.
God bless you all.
God bless Zimbabwe.
Pamberi ne ZANU-PF!
I thank you.
source: the herald