The Herald is giving you live updates of the proceedings at the Zanu PF headquarters. The party is set to hold its first politburo after the successful 15th National People’s Conference held in Victoria Falls in December 2015.
Scores of people are trickling in at the Zanu PF headquarters for an event “organised by the Women’s League to thank President Mugabe for a successful tour of duty as the African Union chairman.”
President Mugabe, who was at the helm of the AU between January 2015 and January 2016, is expected to address the gathering which is dominated by women and youths.
The event coincides with the revolutionary party’s first politburo meeting for this year which is coming in the wake of tension between the party officials.
The Politburo will come after the address by the President and it is expected to put an end to the abuse of social media by some officials and take measures against those leaking party issues to the media.
In the mean time, there are no placards or any banners and the crowd is being entertained by various Chimurenga groups.
10:30 Officials have started arriving and among them is Zanu PF National Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo and Secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Patrick Chinamasa.
10:35 Other politburo members who have arrived are Cdes Josiah Hungwe, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Mike Bimha and Kembo Mohadi.
10:37 Party spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo has arrived.
10:40 Some of the people interviewed say they do not know what they have come to do. Some say they have been called to attend an address by President Mugabe while some say they have been told its an address by First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.
10:45 President Mugabe has arrived and he is accompanied by the First Lady. People chant Gushungo Gushungo Gushungo as he takes to the podium. Also here are Vice Presidents Phelekezela Mphoko and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
10:50 People are singing the national anthem now.
10:55 Time for introductions and they are done by chairpersons.
11:00 Sarah Mahoka takes a swipe at The herald. She says the paper should do what the people want. “As women, we have come not for war. We are surprised at what we read in the papers, that we want to demonstrate. We humble ourselves as women and respect leadership you chose. We say down with those who attack the First Lady on every fora.
Mahoka heaps praise on the first family adding they sympathise with them following the recent planned bombings at Alpha and Omega Diary.
11:10 She turns to VP Mnangagwa: “May you please reprimand those abusing your name.”
She appeals to him to declare his interests just as VP Mphoko did. On Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Cde Mahoka says “We want to know if the President sent him to say what he said in the papers. VaCharamba (George Charamba, Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, perm sec) ngavaregedze kutaura kwavasina kuswera.”
11:20 First lady takes to the stand and thanks the Lord for getting into 2016. She says “we will always honour war veterans for bringing us freedom” and also thanks the Womens League for organising the event to appreciate President Mugabe’s works.
“Women saw it fit to celebrate and praise you for what you did during your AU tenure. Lets unite, yes there are differences but most of them are coming from men. If you are warned better because sometimes you might end up being chucked out
“We have an upper hand as Zanu PF. So why fighting? You stop it!
First Lady adds: “Quietness doesn’t mean we are foolish. Kure kwemeso nzeve dzinonzwa.”
On planned bombings:
“Why being so heartless? We have sanctions in place and we should have unity of purpose.”
She says: “Focus should be on solving the grain shortages not talking nonsensical issues. We can’t spend the whole time discussing disciplinary issues.
“Political instability affects the whole nation, so stop negative stories. Write about what brings investment into the country.
“Vamwe vaakutoti vakaenda kuchikoro kunodzidza mavhoko. Stop it!
This is our country together, she says. “Let us forgive each other. Do not take issues outside, let us solve them internally.”
11:50 First Lady has finished making her address and Cde Sandi Moyo takes to the stand.
She thanks President Mugabe for championing women’s rights in Africa during his tenure.
11:55 President Mugabe takes to the podium.
12:00 He says he only learnt of the programme on Monday.
“Mukakumbira hamurambidzwe and we say if there is anyone who tried to bar people from coming, that is wrong. We will be discussing about such issues.”
He says, without Women’s League, the party will never win an election. “Women should not be looked down upon.”
12:05 “Since independence, we have worked hard to ensure there is equality between men and women. Equality in all sectors be it education, employment and even remuneration.”
12:08 “Respect, respect, respect, should be accorded to women. When we became the chair of the AU, I said I should not go alone but take the wishes of the people there.
“Upon taking the post last year, we remained in Ethiopia for three days looking at how the AU used to operate and looked for new ways of how we can give them new direction.”
President Mugabe says AU chairmanship should not be an armchair thing but deliverance.
“If you have a grievance, take the issue to the party, don’t go to the opposition papers. You are embarrassing yourself and the party. Those issues are discussed in the Politburo. There are politburo members for that matter.
“Come and present your case to the politburo not kuchema kunze. No to violence we are now on top in Africa and lets safeguard that.”
12:41 President Mugabe says infighting is giving relevance to Morgan Tsvangirai.
13:00 The President has concluded his address and is heading into the Politburo meeting. We will notify you of the outcome of the meeting as soon as we get the spokesperson’s update. Meanwhile, let us continue to discuss and digest what has been said so far.
First Lady Dr Amai Grace Mugabe with Vice President Mnangagwa
President Mugabe’s arrival
Part of the crowd at Zanu-PF HQ, Harare
Part of the officials at the Zanu-PF HQ
Professor Jonathan Moyo arrives at the Zanu-PF HQ
Political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere with Cde Sarah Mahoka
President Mugabe addressing Zanu-PF supporters at the party’s national HQ
19:37 More visuals from earlier proceedings at the Zanu-PF National Headquarters in Harare ahead of today’s politburo meeting.
VIDEO TWO: PRESIDENT MUGABE’S ADDRESS AHEAD OF ZANU-PF’S POLITBURO MEETING AT THE PARTY’S HQ