Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF’s Women League conference kicked off in Harare yesterday without any technical hitches, with delegates expressing optimism that the next two days would be fruitful.
The mood was electric as the thousands of women attending the conference broke into song and dance as they celebrated life, each other and, above all, the life of President Mugabe, whom they described as an able leader who would take Zimbabwe far.
They yet again demonstrated that they fully supported the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe as the next Secretary of the Women’s League. Their love and admiration towards her was evident.
Neatly dressed in their party regalia, one would have been excused for thinking the gathering was a beauty pageant.
The conference, which was officially opened by President Mugabe, started mid-morning and was punctuated by party slogans, dance and song from the nearly 4 000 delegates from the country’s 10 provinces, foreign delegates and invited guests.
Prior to the commencement of official proceedings, delegates had been entertained by Mbare Chimurenga choir and the police band.
Official proceedings started with Zanu-PF Women’s League Harare provincial chairperson Cde Angeline Matambanadzo welcoming the delegates.
This was followed by Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Harare Cde Miriam Chikukwa’s welcome speech.
Secretary for the Women’s Affairs, Cde Oppah Muchinguri then took to the podium and said delegates valued the importance of the conference despite challenges individuals might be facing back home.
She gave the high table an opportunity to greet delegates, something that was done spectacularly, with secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa the first to the podium.
Zanu-PF national political commissar, Cde Webster Shamu followed with his booming voice saying: “Baba Mugabe the digital warrior,” before he led delegates into a gospel chorus.
When it was time for party national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, he led the delegates in a Ndebele song which reminded delegates that the party demanded hard work from its members.
After Cde Khaya Moyo, Cde Muchinguri asked Amai Mugabe to greet delegates and she got a standing ovation from the floor as she was received with a thunderous applause that could have rattled the auditorium.
The First Lady did the slogans and then led delegates in a song that touched on the aspirations of women and that they looked forward to a more prosperous life.
Vice President Joice Mujuru also belted the tune “Dairai”, with some of its lyrics going: “pakati penyu apa pane achatipandukira”.
In his speech, Cde Khaya Moyo likened Zanu-PF to a cast iron that gets stronger with heat.
“It excels when faced with challenges,” he said.
“It has never been defeated. It’s the people’s party, a revolutionary machine.”
Cde Mujuru lauded President Mugabe for coming up with policies that empowered women.
“Our leader has continued to fight against poverty, HIV and Aids, discrimination, domestic and social violence,” she said.
“The President is very consistent in championing the cause of women.”
VP Mujuru said constitutional provisions, coupled with enabling legal statutes, treaties and conventions empowering women, were a victory for the fairer sex.
President Mugabe then gave his keynote address before Zanu-PF Women’s League deputy secretary Cde Eunice Sandi-Moyo gave the vote of thanks.
Solidarity messages also poured in from most countries in the region.
Many commended President Mugabe and Zanu PF for making Africa proud through their continued resistance of pressure from the West to compromise on their belief and way of life as Africans.
It was indeed a day to remember. All seemed set for today’s deliberations.