Address by His Excellency, the President and Zanu-PF First Secretary Cde E. D. Mnangagwa at the 18th National People’s Conference at Goromonzi High School in Mashonaland East Province on December 13, 2019.
It is my singular honour and pleasure to address this 18th National People’s Conference here at Goromonzi High School, Mashonaland East Province. On behalf of our party ZANU-PF, I greet and welcome all delegates to this revolutionary gathering.
I welcome, in a very special way, our esteemed invited guests who are with us today. We value the fraternal relations which continue to exist between yourselves and our party. We have come to the revolutionary, loyal and consistent province of Mashonaland East.
This is the province that gave us the great luminaries and heroes of our party and country such as the late General Solomon Tapfumaneyi “Rex Nhongo” Mujuru and the late Cde Ernest Rusununguko Kadungure, among others.
This province was the cradle of the Third Chimurenga, which ushered our Fast Track Land Reform Programme, when the people of Svosve said enough is enough.
As a party, we have indeed come home. Allow me to take this opportunity to thank the people of Mashonaland East for their unwavering support for the party and for consistently, overwhelmingly, voting for ZANU-PF.
Tinotenda, siyabonga Mashonaland East.
Comrade delegates; This year’s conference is running under the theme, “Mechanise, Modernise and Grow the Economy Towards Vision 2030” and taking place at a decisive stage in our journey towards the attainment of a middle income economy. The party constitution, in Article 6, Section 33, sub-sections 1 to 5, obligates us to meet annually to deliberate on the various issues affecting our party.
These annual gatherings must, however, never drive us to a business-as-usual approach to our affairs.
We must remain result-oriented and never forget that we are a revolutionary party; a people’s party; the party of our liberation and the party of our future.
This conference must, therefore, share perspectives with regards to how we can quicken the pace of re-building and modernising both our party and the country towards greater economic stability and growth.
As we journey on the path towards economic prosperity and growth, the party must be in the forefront of encouraging maximum productivity across all sectors, always inculcating a culture of unity, love and harmony among all our people. We are proceeding with this agenda, there is no turning back.
Let this 18th National People’s Conference, therefore, show greater commitment and urgency to deliver economic empowerment for our people, especially the youths and women as well as jobs where our people live, modern infrastructure, health, education, housing and other social amenities.
As party delegates here gathered, I exhort us to be more attentive and responsive in the manner we address issues that affect our people. We are a party from the people and for the people. They are the reason why we are here.
Comrade delegates; In 2018, we convened in Esigodini, Matabeleland South Province, on the backdrop of a resounding victory scored by our revolutionary party during the harmonised general elections.
We met then, emboldened by the fresh mandate given to us by the majority of the people of Zimbabwe and resolved to accelerate the implementation of policies and programmes which improve every sector of the economy and the quality of life of our people.
In spite of the various attempts by our detractors to derail the course of our reforms and economic recovery; the revolution and struggle for the people’s sustainable development is well on course.
I want to commend the people of Zimbabwe for rejecting the machinations by those with unbridled political ambitions who are even prepared to use violence, divisions and disunity to acquire power.
We saw them in January and during different times of the year, sacrificing precious lives to achieve their ends, be it through outright violent demonstrations or under the guise of purported collective job action. That behaviour and culture is alien to us in the Second Republic, and should continue to be rejected by the peace-loving people of our country.
We are a peace-loving party and would want the entrenchment of this culture of non-violence at all levels, including within families. The focus of our efforts must be towards ensuring that our people live a better life. Unity, peace and development is our party motto; let us live by it.
Allow me to congratulate the party, at every level for the good showing during the various by-elections held during the course of the year. This is a reflection that our party remains the party of choice; the party of liberation and the party of our future; accommodating all Zimbabweans from across sectors and cultures.
I equally commend the provinces and wings of the party who kept our membership mobilised and briefed about the goings on in both the party and Government, during the year.
Well done and thank you to you all. Government is a product of the party and the supremacy of the party as a philosophy is the ideal which we must achieve. This conference should not shy away from engaging in a robust debate to sharpen how the party expresses its supremacy.
We are a colossal party; let us keep the momentum. The people should always come first in all that we do.
We are a people’s party, a listening party and a party which serves the people wholeheartedly. We are a servant leadership. Let us never lose this rich character of our party.
To do the will of the people and never to advance the personal ambitions of a few, is one of the key obligations we have as a party.
In the culture of dialogue espoused by the Second Republic, we remain engaged with leaders of other political parties under the Political Parties Dialogue (POLAD).
The party should never be distracted by those who make irritating noises within the country and those on Twitter and other social media platforms. Vacharamba vachingovukura, vachingovukura, vachingovukura; isu tichingofamba, tichingofamba, tichingofamba, tichingofamba.
I am aware that our detractors are trying to divide the party by attempting to recruit from within the rank and file of our membership.
Let us remain vigilant, steadfast and loyal to the ideals, values and principles of the party. The membership at every level is required to be totally committed to the party and its leadership.
Wolves among us, in sheep’s clothing, must be flushed out. Hatidi gumbo mumba, gumbo pazhe!
Comrade delegates; At last year’s 17th National People’s Conference, we outlined party building, rejuvenation and modernisation from the cells/villages, upwards as some of the key areas we were to focus on during the year. I am pleased to report that the decision of the conference calling for the reintroduction of DCCs was implemented.
To date, Harare and Bulawayo Provinces have been accordingly restructured. The implementation of that resolution will go a long way towards enhancing our organisational and mobilisation capacity to ensure that the party keeps in touch with the people and the people with their party; which is necessary for a revolutionary mass party such as ours.
In recognition of the ultimate sacrifice made by veterans of the liberation struggle, the Central Committee adopted the proposal to create a fully-fledged War Veterans League. We welcome our comrades to their party, not as an appendage or affiliate, but as full members with all rights and obligations as provided for in our party constitution. Their inclusion as a full wing of the party will undoubtedly bring the much-needed impetus to both party mobilisation and the ideological orientation of our membership.
The need to increase the membership of our women and youths in our party cannot be over emphasised. The youths are the future; the women are the heart and soul of our party. We congratulate the various programmes undertaken by both these wings towards party mobilisation and rebuilding.
The Women’s League’s thrust to attract more young women into the party is a welcome initiative. The due legal processes in Government are in motion to extend the women’s quota in Parliament. Provisions will also be included which will see 10 extra seats in Parliament for the youths.
We look forward to resolutions of the two wings outlining more targeted programmes for the coming year, taking into account the new realities and demographics of our society. As we work towards 2023 harmonised general elections, rest assured that the party and Government are determined to empower the youths, women, the disabled, SMEs and other marginalised groups, in fulfilment of the promises we made to the electorate in our party manifesto.
The party is a party only if we have members. We must pre-occupy ourselves with retaining our current members and also seek to attract new ones.
We must be more accommodating as a party. The party is for everyone, our farmers, workers, youths, scientists, businesspeople, veterans, young and old women alike, the formal and informally employed, professionals, the unskilled labourers, the urban and rural folk. It is for everybody. Hence, the mobilisation and recruitment strategies which this conference proffers must be crafted accordingly.
Comrades and friends; Guided by our party manifesto and the resolutions of the congresses and conferences, we continue to boldly implement robust and responsive policies to resuscitate and grow our economy.
I commend all Zimbabweans and the party members in particular, for their endurance, perseverance and resilience in the face of the challenging economic environment.
In spite of the various shocks which negatively impacted our projected economic growth, such as Cyclone Idai and the drought; notable strides have been made.
These include the reduction of the budget deficit and introduction of key macro-fiscal reforms aimed at stabilising and resuscitating the economy in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
Our 2020 National Budget is thus aimed at stimulating higher productivity, growth and job creation.
No progressive nation can develop without its own currency.
The introduction of our own currency will undoubtedly enhance our economic stability, growth and competitiveness.
Measures have been put in place to ensure adequate cash supply to our populace. The law enforcement agents will move in to deal with those who are hoarding cash and causing artificial shortages of cash. The illegal trading in foreign currency must be stopped in line with our laws. It is incumbent upon all citizens of our great country and party members in particular, to protect and defend our currency as a symbol of national sovereignty and pride.
We remain concerned at the prevailing high prices charged by some of our retailers for basic commodities.
As Government, we will continue to put social safety nets to cushion the vulnerable members of our society such as subsidised mealie meal, ZUPCO buses for transport and the removal of duty on selected food commodities.
Retailers should not sell subsidised basic commodities in bulk to ensure equitable access to the products by vulnerable communities. Government will continue to award its workers the cost of living adjustment. A once off 50 percent payment of pension, to pensioners and their dependants will be made before the Christmas holidays to cushion our senior citizens.
Let me once again reiterate that the Land Reform Programme is irreversible. The ongoing drive to make our land more productive has, however, suffered setbacks due to the persistent droughts caused by climate change.
Government is rolling out comprehensive strategies to mitigate the negative impact of the unpredictable weather patterns by increasing our water bodies and the total land under irrigation.
The resuscitation of small irrigation schemes such as Chental in Hwange; Cashel Valley in Chimanimani; Duncal in Esigodini; Mutondwe in Bindura and Dongaronga in Chegutu among others; are being accelerated. The construction of dams and drilling of boreholes must be evenly spread throughout the country’s districts and provinces. There should be no favouritism in this regard.
Under the agriculture modernisation and mechanisation programme, various schemes are underway to ensure increased availability of tractors, planters, harvesters and centre pivots. I am aware of the loss of draught power among the smallholder communal farmers as a result of the death of cattle due to the drought and livestock diseases. DDF will ensure that tillage services are availed to our people throughout the country.
The need to increase agriculture productivity and efficiency to achieve sustainable food security, cannot be over emphasised. The ongoing Land audit will result in a downsizing exercise. This will be in compliance to the maximum farm size of each ecological region and our determination to eliminate multiple farm ownership.
As we implement this programme, women, youths and other groups in our society must have equal access to land as well as the requisite support which will guarantee their productivity on the land.
Meanwhile, I commend the young farmers who are committed to making our land productive in various provinces. This new crop of young farmers attest to the success of our land revolution. Government will render maximum support to the youths engaged in productive activities in agriculture and other sectors of our economy.
Esteemed delegates; During the course of the year, we improved our producer prices to make it more profitable for farmers to remain on the land.
Going forward, I urge our farmers to work hard on the land during this 2019-2020 Summer Season and to heed to the advice of our Meteorological Department and Agritex officials with regards this season’s weather patterns. Let us encourage our people to plant short-season varieties and more traditional crops.
As per the resolution of the 17th National People’s Conference calling for improved management of the Command Agriculture Programme, a more efficient financing model has been developed in association with our banking partners.
The Presidential Inputs Support Scheme is this year targeting a total of 1 628 500 household beneficiaries.
This includes distribution of inputs for drought-tolerant, traditional grains.
In the mining sector, we have launched a strategy which will see us grow a $12 billion mining industry by 2023. This will provide empowerment and employment for our people throughout the country. The party commends the role of small-scale miners in growing our mining sector, in particular those in the gold and chrome sub-sectors. I call on those in this sub-sector to desist from violence and other illegal activities. Pasi nemabhemba!
Corruption and chicanery by some mining officials will be decisively dealt with. Perpetrators must stand warned.
As we industrialise our economy, the resuscitation, modernisation and retooling of the manufacturing sector must be speeded up. I exhort the party to take a lead in growing vibrant and sustainable SMEs which provide goods and services which address the daily challenges faced by our people. Government on its part, has put in place concrete incentives to encourage the establishment of vibrant rural industry systems.
The party members from the wards and districts upwards must take advantage of these policies to empower their communities and create sustainable jobs, especially for the youths and women.
Party members must also tap into the vast business opportunities in the tourism sector.
In this regard, the wildlife economy and the culture and arts creative industries should be leveraged to empower our communities for both the local and external markets.
Esteemed delegates; The almost 20 years of sanctions has left an evident dent to our infrastructure, which is now old, archaic and in most cases, needing modernisation. Energy is a critical enabler to economic growth.
As you are aware, the present deficiency in energy currently being faced is partly as a result of climate change which has seen drastic reduction of our hydro power generation capacity at Kariba Dam.
Plans are on course to improve power generation at Hwange Thermal Power Station and also through independent power producers. In addition, a sustainable integrated energy strategy is at various stages of implementation. All Zimbabweans are encouraged to increase the usage of solar energy.
Government has increased the resources allocated towards road construction, housing development and the building of schools. We are also revamping and modernising the health delivery system to ensure universal health coverage.
The construction of more health centres, availability of affordable drugs and appropriate health personnel are being prioritised. Our people at every level deserve quality social services, good roads, good housing facilities, clean water and sanitation as well as modern education and health infrastructure.
The party must ensure that these are delivered to them.
I have since received the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Urban State Land, which revealed glaring excesses and acts of corruption by land barons and their cohorts. As a party, we will not accept a situation where our people live in squalid conditions 39 years after Independence as a result of being swindled out of their hard-earned money by these criminal elements.
Those implicated in the commission’s report must be brought to book, without fear or favour.
We are a disciplined, principled and ethical party.
We always advance the rights and interests of the majority of the people.
In our determination to advance development which leaves no one behind, the 2020 National Budget has seen the increased allocation of resources to accelerate the implementation of development projects at the grassroots level under devolution. I urge the party membership to take an active interest in the prioritisation of such projects within their respective communities.
You, the party membership, must drive economic development and ensure the creation of sustainable rural industry systems, drawing from the resources available at the local level.
Comrades; During the liberation struggle, unity gave us the strength to achieve our national Independence and freedom. I exhort this conference and the party as a whole to draw from that rich heritage as we implement policies and programmes which are necessary to improve the plight of our people.
In all that we do and the various plans that we make, let us be mindful that Zimbabwe is a diverse, but unitary state. From Zambezi to Limpopo; from Plumtree to Mutare, we are one.
Going forward and inspired by the principle of devolution, we shall be holding national events, such as the main national Independence Day commemorations at various parts of the country, and not just at the capital.
Furthermore, we are committed to entrench our liberation war heritage, national identity and pride.
The renaming of our roads and buildings throughout the country must be seen in that context. We are a proud people with a rich history which we honour and celebrate. We make no apologies for this.
ZANU-PF as the people’s party has the weighty responsibility of defining and bringing to fruition, the hopes and aspirations of our people.
As such, the fate of our party and of future generations in our country, depends on the decisions we make from time to time; including those that will be made by this landmark conference. Our deliberations and the resolutions emanating from this conference must, therefore, reflect this onerous national responsibility. Let us understand and remain empathetic to the needs, sentiments and priorities of our people.
Our commitment to economic productivity through hard honest work must permeate all thematic committees. Concrete implementation plans must also be an integral component of our resolutions. We must be flexible, responsive and adaptive as we journey towards the Zimbabwe we all want. It is no longer business as usual. Forward ever, backward never.
Comrade delegates, ladies and gentlemen; Allow me once again, to express my sincere gratitude to all delegates and members of our revolutionary parties for their continued support and loyalty to the party and its leadership. United we will stand and continue to deliver a better life for all Zimbabweans.
I wish you a successful conference and now table the Central Committee Report to this 18th National People’s Conference. This report outlines the activities undertaken by the various departments of the party during the course of the year.