Saturday, 1 March 2008

ZANU manifesto

Zanu-PF launches manifesto

Political and Features Editor

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday received a thunderous welcome from over 4 000 delegates who packed the Harare International Conference Centre to witness the official launch of the Zanu-PF election manifesto and campaign for this month’s polls.

The colourful launch was witnessed by Zanu-PF leaders at all levels along with House of Assembly, Senate and council candidates, who were resplendent in party regalia and broke into song and dance at regular intervals.

Also in attendance were African and other developing world diplomats, but conspicuous by their absence were Western diplomats who, only last week, thronged Sakubva Stadium in Mutare to witness the launch of the MDC Tsvangirai faction’s election campaign.

In his keynote address, President Mugabe expressed confidence that Zanu-PF would romp to victory, saying the campaign was about widening the margin to send a clear message to detractors that Zanu-PF is a people’s party.

‘‘Victory is certain, but the size of the victory is what we are aiming at. We are not aiming at victory because we have won already. All we want now is the enhancement of that victory. We want a big, big, big victory, a thunderous one. So let us now all go as a team. So now I say to one and all: Candidates go ye and achieve a thunderous victory, go ye and achieve a thunderous victory. That’s my message to you, it is an instruction, it’s an order. On the 30th tell me mission accomplished,’’ Cde Mugabe said to wild applause from the delegates.

He said since Zanu-PF had already bagged two seats, the focus should be on grabbing the rest.

Zanu-PF won two constituencies when its House of Assembly and Senate candidates were nominated unopposed at the close of nomination courts in Mashonaland Central. It also swept 392 council wards unopposed in various provinces.

Reiterating his call for a violence-free campaign, the President urged candidates to embark, not on a physical fight but a fight for ideas, saying they should tell the people the truth about what the party had achieved or failed to achieve.

‘‘What have we done? What have we said we will do? Did we do what we said we would do? Takaita here zvatakataura? Takataura zvakawanda. We said a lot of things. It was not just cheap talk. It was organised talk, the talk of ideas, the talk of projects and ideas, programmes and projects that were now the language of our policies.

‘‘How did they unfold? That’s what we must now be able to explain to the people. Where we have succeeded in the implementation of our programmes and policies, let’s say so. Where we have failed to do so, let us tell the people we failed here and there, and tell them why, and tell them what we are doing now to correct those failures. And that is what this book (manifesto) will do.’’

The President said the manifesto, while it did not contain everything the candidates should tell the electorate, had the guidelines for their campaign and would be successful only if its contents dovetailed with the expectations of the people.

He urged candidates to be guided by the campaign theme, "Defending our Land and National Sovereignty: Building Prosperity through Empowerment".

‘‘Let’s be guided by our theme that looks at what we have already as a gain; the land, the land, the independence; and further enjoins us to look after it, after that which we have already gained; defending our land and national sovereignty.’’

The President said land was the most important resource at Zimbabwe’s disposal, but defending and protecting it was not enough if it was not made productive. The Government, he said, had empow-

ered farmers with farming implements in phases one and two of the farm mechanisation programme, and was set to launch the third phase in the next few weeks.

He said the Government was aware that farmers also needed to be empowered with knowledge on how to increase productivity, which knowledge should not only be confined to the agricultural sector but spread throughout all the other sectors.

‘‘We need a people who are enlightened people and these should be produced by our institutions. We need these in all other sectors. Education. We do not want an ignorant nation; we need an enlightened nation. From day one, 1980 we made our demand that no child shall go without education.’’

The President chronicled the successes the Government has scored in education, saying the country was at a stage where every province boasted a university.

He said there was need to broaden the curriculum from an emphasis on academic subjects to prioritise practical subjects and even affective disciplines like music and the arts. He said the Government would consider implementing the findings of the Nziramasanga Commission into Education and Training that had been overlooked.

Cde Mugabe had delegates in stitches when he described how he had to look for an interpreter when he received a call from Cameroonian President, Mr Paul Biya, whom he had to leave on the line for a lengthy period as even his ministers in Cabinet could not speak French. He said schools should teach a broad range of languages like French, Spanish and Germany, and not only be fixated with English as Zimbabwe interacted with different countries in the world.

The President said the Government had failed to keep its promises in infrastructure development, particularly roads, a situation he attributed to scarcity of resources, along with lack of consistency in the implementation of Government programmes by some ministries that tended to spread limited resources over several projects instead of focusing on one project at a time to ensure their successful completion.

‘‘If a ministry has too many programmes to do at one time, it can never have enough money to do those programmes at once, so it’s better to concentrate on what you are able to do and finish (it), rather than try to do roads in all provinces all at once . . . It is in good spirit to try and finish them all, but we got to have priorities and work on those priorities. But when all is said and done, I know there have been some conscientious people, but there also some people who did work as hard and conscientiously as they should have done. But despite that, we must have teams that believe in doing things to the finish.’’

The President said the Government had accomplished quite a lot in health delivery by establishing hospitals in all provinces, but it was important to rehabilitate existing hospitals and equip them with drugs. He said though sanctions were militating against that, the Government would not allow the embargo to kill the people.

The President said the Government was working to empower people in the mining sector to enhance the people’s wealth as he bemoaned the leakage of minerals and externalisation of proceeds that he attributed to foreign ownership of mines.

‘‘The mining sector has remained at quite a slow pace, a pace that is costing us. Unless we are there, and we are there as owners, there as shareholders, we will continue to be cheated, there is going to be a lot of externalisation. We must tell our people that we need to break that area because right now there is very little yield from gold. We get very little yet gold used to be our number one earner of foreign currency, competing with tobacco. We need to restore it to its lost position.’’

The President said the Government would ensure that the mines become truly Zimbabwean through majority shareholding by Zimbabweans.

‘‘It’s necessary that our minerals become truly our minerals. There are some that say if you do that you will lose investors, but we are losing already through foreign ownership.’’

He said the Government was appraising the diamond discoveries to gauge their extent and ensure their security before seeking development partners, on a very discriminatory basis.

Cde Mugabe took a swipe at MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai for posturing as a representative of the people when he was not prepared to defend them when they needed him most during the liberation struggle.

‘‘If yesterday people needed you because they were being oppressed, their land had been taken away from them, because they were semi-slaves in their own country. They were not allowed to exercise their rights to choose, they were herded into small areas called reserves. And even in the reserves they were told how many cattle they could have, how much land they could have. If yesterday as they suffered in this way you could not go to their assistance, and you could not join those who were going to do so, those young men to join in the fight for liberation, and you were hiding yourself.

‘‘If yesterday you were a coward then, how come today you now have courage, where did your courage come from? Can the people trust you now with their freedom?

‘‘You are even talking to enemies. You go overseas to talk about sanctions, sanctions on the people. The enemies, those who oppressed us yesterday, and those who still want to oppress us? You are hand in glove with those who say ‘We have lost our land’. Those white farmers say they have lost ‘their’ land, our land. We want our land back.’’

He said a lot of white former commercial farmers were trooping back into Zimbabwe anticipating an MDC victory.

‘‘Iko zvino mukazvitarisa vaive kunze, they are coming back into the country, they think the MDC is going to win. So chokwadi, you, uchinzi a son of the soil, mwana wemunhu mutema, ungati tikatora nyika we will return land to you the white farmers, we will give it back to you, and promise that you will give it back to them?

‘‘Ndirikunzwa Makoni arikudarowo, arikuti we will have to review. So what kind of persons are these, what did we have with us?’’

The President said people should see through Dr Simba Makoni, who was a disappointment during the liberation struggle, as he never fulfilled set tasks when he was made Zanu’s representative in Europe.

‘‘Makoni ndiye wataiti ndiwe representative wedu muEurope, yose anaFrance, Germany and so on. But he did not want to go to any one country at all, never. So ndopatakaona kuti munhu akaita sei uyu.’’

He expressed hope Zanu-PF had cause to trust all who were standing on its ticket, saying he was buoyed by the support he continues getting from the party.

‘‘Hapana watinotya. Panyaya yeZimbabwe, panyaya yekudzivirira Zimbabwe, there is no one outside there who is greater than you, none. Hakuna, vanaBush, vanaBlair, vanaBrown, they are not greater than you when it comes to Zimbabwe.’’

He said Zimbabwe was prepared to engage with partners of its choice but would never accept those who sought to impose themselves.

‘‘So Mr Blair, Mr Bush, Mr Brown, when it comes to Zimbabwe, if you want to be partners with us, come, you stand there, and I stand here, we shake hands. But remember the gold in my country is mine, and the land also is my land.’’

The Zanu-PF manifesto identifies 12 key areas the party plans to work on, notably land and sovereignty; busting the sanctions; completing and consolidating land reforms; rehabilitating, upgrading and expanding infrastructure; resolving the energy crisis; economic prosperity through indigenisation; small to medium enterprises development, science and technology, youth and women empowerment; and building alliances with progressive partners in the world.

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