The following is a transcript of Zanu-PF President and First Secretary His Excellency Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s speech to the Central Committee at the ongoing 15th National People’s Conference yesterday.
Cde Vice President and Second Secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Cde Vice President and Second Secretary Phelekezela Mphoko,
The Secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo,
All Politburo members, and members of the Central Committee here present.
Ladies and gentlemen, Comrades and friends
May I welcome you all to the 15th National People’s Conference’s Central Committee meeting, which we are holding after our Politburo on Monday.
Comrades, as we meet today, all our departments have been hard at work mobilising people and other resources towards this year’s annual people’s conference.
We thank the party leadership in Matabeleland North for taking the lead and all the other provincial leaderships for co-operating closely with the host province. We all realise that the responsibility for ensuring an effective conference falls on all of us especially those of us in leadership at various levels of the party. Matabeleland North deserves all our support especially given the background on drought which has affected most of the country.
Cdes, we meet today as the Central Committee to review the party’s performance in the year about to end, the year 2015. We are happy to note that there is ample evidence that the party is getting stronger and stronger by the day. What with the resounding victories that we have been scoring in all the recent by-elections. I want to say congratulations.
Those by-elections have been key to testing the strength of the party from the point of view of its membership, the efficacy of its organs, rules and mobilisation strategies and we can say for now, anyway, and I hope for the future also, for now we rule the roost and I hope we do so in the future.
We have gained foothold, nay embedded ourselves, in those areas hitherto perceived as the domain of the opposition. However, we should never allow complacency to set in. We must remain on our toes, remain on the road with meetings taking place in different parts of the country every week.
While credit for the good image and standing of the party is shared by all of us, allow me to single out the Women’s League and the Commissariat for working tirelessly in mobilising and keeping the party alive. That is as it should be and should be all the time.
Cdes and friends, the 15th National People’s Conference is guided by the chosen theme: “Consolidating People’s Power through Zim-Asset”.
As the Central Committee, the party leadership with the Politburo, we are expected to be thoroughly conversant with this theme. It goes without saying that the people we lead expect us to have a full grasp of Zim-Asset, its components and practical activities that accrue from Zim-Asset. And then how Zim-Asset can be implemented in order to improve the people’s lives as we maintain, remain cognisant that we anchored our 2013.
Remember 2013 electoral pledges on Zim-Asset, the party leadership is now expected to come up with concrete ideas that help to implement and consolidate programmes and policies that support our economic blueprint. Some have already come and there is concretisation of those ideas now on the ground.
Comrades and friends, it has become an accepted reality that droughts are persistently becomingmore frequent not only in Zimbabwe but also in Sadc, Africa and in fact the wider world are suffering from droughts in parts, some much more devastating droughts, in others, less so.
So, we therefore must just prepare ourselves to respond to problems caused by this climate change. Even in the past I have emphasised the need to promote irrigation or the harvesting of water and the growing of small grain crops. Let me underline, once again if not over emphasised, the need to resort to these as part of our answer to the frequent droughts.
Comrades and friends, a party of our age and experience has learnt many lessons, and has generated many answers. Above all, our party has evolved standards of behaviour and outlook. We never depart or deviate from this principle. This should be true even when party members have problems. The Central Committee leadership has members as you can see, drawn from all the provinces and differences of outlook are bound to arise on certain issues.
But there is no need of resorting to backbiting or character assassination. We, as the Central Committee are the centre, as the name implies – Central Committee. We keep the party going throughout the five years before we get to Congress. Thank God, we injected in between year in and year after, the National People’s Conference but the Central Committee remains the main body that supervises the party with the Politburo within it being the administrative arm of the party. The Central Committee meets only four times a year, unless there are crucial matters that bid us to convene it.
And so the problems that arise as they are handled first by the Politburo must finally be handled by the Central Committee. But what problems do we expect to arise?
One would think of problems that have to do with organisation, problems that have to to do with elections, problems that have to do with administration. Problems also that have to do with recruitment of new members. But alas, it’s not just those problems which arise. The problems now have to do with personalities. People wanting to advance themselves within the party, wanting this position or that position.
And so we have a problem at the moment that threatens to split the party. Some are looking at the forthcoming elections and yet the election is still far.
It comes in the year 2018. But the ambitious ones are working, some openly, some behind the scenes in all kinds of ways in order to place themselves in positions which they think will enable them to be elected. Some want to be in those positions now, hazviite just now.
Elections take place once in five years. At the end of the five years, we all resign and the ambitious ones can line up. Some will be those who will come from the provinces and perhaps the promotion of those provinces, perhaps others may be those promoting themselves. But whichever way and whichever channel and I hope, it will be accepted channels, channels that you follow, they must lead to 2018.
Midway, here and there we will have by-elections, of course. We are losing people, some die and some perhaps retire. Yes, by-elections may take place to replace them. And I made reference to quite a number which we have won. But don’t disturb the smoothness, smooth going efficiency and competence of the party. Don’t disturb.
They are said to be just now, groups, this group following the leadership and the leaderships are not very clear, that they would want to see lead the party. That group perhaps opposed to that and we have all kinds of manoeuvres. All that is appearing in the opposition papers is coming from us. What a shame? Tisu takutoita kuti zvima opposition papers izvi zvirarame.
And then there are accusations across the board, this group saying ohh, it’s this other group which is doing A, B, C, D and the other group hitting back. This is the information I am getting and in some cases, one group might put a set of criticisms and then create its own opposition to that assertion, so that the group is ascertained and negating to get the picture that there is opposition happening in the party.
Then there are lies, formulation of lies, manufacturing of lies, talking about the purported actions of people which have never happened. Kunyepa, tava vanyepi. Tinototsvaga. We go day and night wanting to get information. If we can’t get it, manufacture it, the information that damages the group that we are opposed to most. Chii chirikumboitika kumaprovinces kwenyu? Chii chirikumboitika muPolitburo?
Zvino kana munhu achida kuvhoterwa nekutsvetera vanhu, dzimwe nguva vamwe vanopihwa tumari, dzimwe nguva vamwe vanonzi ukandisupporter, ndichazokuitira zvakati zvakati, kana kuri kuprovince ikoko ndichazokupa chigaro chakati nechakati. Zvino itsvina idzodzo muparty! Hazvidiwe! Handizvo zvinosungirwa kuitwa kuti party yedu ifambire mberi zvakanaka.
Ambition inobvumirwa, munhu anosungirwa kuva ambitious ehee, kuti ndinodawo kuva nechigaro ichi chigaro ngachiuye netsika yakanaka. Zvigaro hazviturunurwe sematamba, zvinouya nechimiro chako, nekudiwa kwako nevanhu. Vanhu vanokuda here? Abantu bayakuthanda yini?
Mabasa awakaita anoita kuti vazokuvhotera ndeapi? Kana munhu akauya nezuro uno uyu, akapinda after maelections atakaita before 2013 kuCongress, anotoda kuti aah dai ndapihwawo chigaro chepamusoro. Vamwe vakapinda muParliament 2013 vakatopinda vachiti zvandapinda ndobva ndapihwa ministry. Hatimbodaro! Uri ani? Kutotsutsumwa kuti aah, ko ini ndanyimirwei? Ko unenge uri ani? Ane zviito zvakadii? Ane nhoroondo mumusangano yakadii?
Kurwisana hakuperi. Iwo mavote of no-confidence akauya aya. Ko nyaya dzacho hadzitauriranwe here? Asi kana munhu asinganzwe zviri kutaurwa nevamwe achida kutora gwara rake iye oga, hongu anosungirwa kurangwazve.
Asi munoendaka netsikawo yekuti munhu anofanirwa kuyambirwa.
Try to correct each other, warn each other before you take action, it doesn’t help us.
Then the know-all! Vana maziva zvose! Vanoti aah, isu ndisu tinoziva zvose muparty. Zvakati zvakati zvinosungirwa kuitwa. Give your own ideas to the party through appropriate organs or forums of the party kwete kungofamba unchingozhambatata. Close your mouth, be decent even if you know, you don’t brag about it! Show the people that you are a disciplined learner of the party or if you have knowledge that you have acquired somehow, experience you have acquired over time, fine, use it in a decent way.
The rules of the party apply and must apply in an orderly manner, just manner, to everyone. Don’t discriminate. The party has all kinds of individuals. It has individuals we like and individuals we dislike. It’s not everybody we like. We don’t like the manners of so and so perhaps. We don’t appreciate the habits of the person next to you, but he is a member of the party and he must be tolerated.
So, I want to urge you as members of Central Committee in your various provinces, and members of the Central Committee who should know better than members of the provinces. Also, to assist the provinces in running their affairs well. Don’t interfere too much, but give advice where you are sure that you have the necessary experience, the necessary knowledge and you can therefore correct even the chairperson, the secretary of the province to get him to do things properly.
A chairman who says I know all, I don’t want to listen to anyone is just no good for us. We don’t want them. There is no one who knows everything. And also because you are at the top, you must listen to the grievances of those below.
Your dislikes should be your dislikes. They shouldn’t affect the party. And know, as I say, where your powers begin and where they end. There have been complaints I heard a while ago from some members of a province whom I appointed and the provincial chairman is saying these were not appointed with our permission.
Sachairman weprovince, une masimba here ekuti President paanenge asarudza vanhu iwe ungati kwete ndanga ndichida ngana nangana? To hell with you! I choose people according to my knowledge of them, what I think their capabilities amount to and whatever experience I think you have.
They may not be your friends, but they are party members and they must be accepted. Saka ndoda kunzwa ivavo vanoti avava havisi vedu nekuti hatina kuvasarudza, tozonzwa kuti iwe wakasarudzwa nani? It is absolutely impudent and that’s completely unacceptable!
Let me conclude by paying tribute to the co-operation, togetherness, unity of purpose demonstrated by the leadership of the party in promoting unity among our people. Let’s promote unity, the unity of our people rejects practices such as tribalism, assertions of personal egos. Why should a person born in Manicaland when settled, say, in Mashonaland East not qualify in the same way as the persons of that province for land acquisition?
Hunzi nokuti unobva kwakati hatingakupe munda kuno, asi wakugara muprovince iyoyo? That’s not permissible, hatizvide. Handizvo zvatakarwira. When our young men and women took up arms and fought the settler regime, they did so in the name of Zimbabwe.
A Zimbabwean who settles in any part of our country in any province should be treated as a Zimbabwean, not as a comer. You are not coming from outside. You are moving from one province transferring to another. Vamwe vanobva vawomesa musoro, ayehwa enda kwawakabva. Kupi? Hatidi nyaya idzodzo dziri kuitika. We are one, we are the same and the identity that I am proud of, first and for most that I am a Zimbabwean, I may be Shona or Ndebele, Karanga, Zezuru, Manyika.
Those come much after. I am first and foremost a Zimbabwean. Ndokusaka takati nyika yauya, it must be called Zimbabwe. We gave it a new name, not the Southern Rhodesia Zimbabwe first. Don’t confuse that with People First. Varikuda kumuzvezvera, VePeople First, kwatiri vari kuhwandira. People First, because we have used that as one of our epithets.
So, I say to you, let’s keep united as one. Well Zim-Asset, yes but Zim-Asset must be propped and I am sure you have been seeing some of the efforts that we have been making to get those of our friends outside Africa with the assistance that could come our way.
And recently we had a visit of the Chinese president, President Xi Jinping. A number of programmes, as perhaps you will be told later, were discussed and agreed. Some will continue to be discussed and possibly agreed on. I got an assurance from him that he will help us as much as possible provided we proceed to work on projects and programmes that they can accept as deserving that assistance.
There have been efforts by the leadership of the party and leadership in Government also to seek more assistance from countries like Brazil, Belarus and Russia, etc.
So this assistance will be forthcoming. Its effect cannot be felt today but by next year, we hope the change will be felt by our people. So let’s remain united. Let’s remain focused, purposeful and hardworking and I want to say your history of oneness is what we use as we talk to our friends that Zimbabwe is united, was united when it fought the enemy.
It is one. It is non-racial, non-tribal and truly national. We are a nation of Zimbabweans but as I conclude I want to say there is a very devastating drought we are facing and our Christmas, possibly, will be a difficult one. But we do hope that whatever little rain comes our way, we shall utilise that and utilise to our best advantage .
We continue to pray for more rain, and also we are summoning our energies so we can utilise that water which came from the rains some years back. We will utilise it for irrigation purposes. So what we may lose from lack of rains, we will make up for through the utilisation of the masses of water in our dams as we apply irrigation schemes to them.
So if you have a dam next to you and we have come to you to say now join in the company of those who want to be members of the irrigation scheme, please don’t say no. And what you can do on your own, the assistance you can give your own people, render it. It’s a season that demands that we do our best and take advantage of any facility we have that enables us to be more productive this year.
I want to thank you for having come. I want you carefully to listen to what we have tried to prepare our way to Victoria Falls for the National People’s Conference that will begins the day after tomorrow. Phambili lokhubambana. Pamberi nokubatana. Pasi nemvongamvonga muparty.