Candidates, start your engines!  . . . party revs up its political horsepower President Mnangagwa and First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa are welcomed by Chitepo School of Ideology Principal Cde Munyaradzi Machacha and other Politburo members at the Zanu PF National Ideology and Mobilisation Stategy Workshop in Gweru yesterday. — Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

Patrick Chitumba

Midlands Bureau

THE Midlands Zanu PF Convention Centre stood tall and majestic as President Mnangagwa arrived with an unmistakable spring in his step yesterday. 

Accompanied by the radiant First Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, the President greeted party cadres with a warm smile, exchanging pleasantries with notable figures such as Cde Kembo Mohadi, the Zanu PF second secretary, and Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, the Zanu PF national chair.

It was a grand occasion as the President graced the official opening session of an orientation and induction workshop for Zanu PF aspiring candidates, paving the way for the upcoming harmonised elections in August.

The Zanu PF Midlands Province, known for its remarkable Convention Centre, served as the perfect backdrop for this momentous gathering. 

With circular structures reminiscent of the iconic Great Zimbabwe Monument, the Convention Centre pays homage to the nation’s rich history. 

The genius behind this marvel is none other than President Mnangagwa, who spearheaded its construction in preparation for the 2012 Zanu PF Conference. A feat achieved in a mere three months at a cost of US$2 million, the Convention Centre has become the pride of Midlands Province.

Beyond its significance as a political hub, the Convention Centre offers more than meets the eye. The sprawling complex boasts a state-of-the-art 5 000-seat facility that lends itself to diverse events such as wedding receptions, seminars, exhibitions and entertainment shows. 

Visitors are captivated by the replicas of the renowned Madzimbabwe’s Conical Tower, a testament to the architectural prowess of late national hero, Dr Joel Biggie Matiza. Stepping into this remarkable venue, one might even mistake it for an auto expo, given the fleet of top-of-the-range vehicles adorning the parking lot.

An auto expo, an event where automotive enthusiasts and experts showcase the best products, technologies, concepts, and trends, seems to have merged with the Zanu PF gathering. The parking lot revealed an impressive fleet of 210 all-terrain vehicles, procured to aid candidates in their campaign efforts leading up to the elections. 

Among the branded vehicles, featuring the party’s iconic green, black, and yellow colours, were the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, and Ford Ranger, all proudly displaying the face of the First Secretary, President Mnangagwa. Adorned with inscriptions such as #2023 EDpfee and #Youth League for ED, these vehicles symbolise the party’s commitment to empowering candidates and securing victory.

Aspiring Zanu PF candidates follow proceedings at the party national ideology and mobilisation strategy workshop in Gweru yesterday.

Each vehicle holds its own unique appeal. The Ford Ranger, with its bold and boxy design revolution, commands attention with its domineering front grille, Ford’s signature matrix LED housing “C-clamp” headlamps, and is renowned for its ruggedness, performance, and towing capacity.

On the other hand, the Toyota Hilux is known for fuel efficiency, its robustness, reliability, and off-road capabilities, while the Nissan Navara is a popular pick-up truck known for its strong performance and versatility.

Using these vehicles in a political campaign demonstrates the ruling party’s commitment to providing reliable and efficient resources to its candidates. The choice of robust and capable vehicles like the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, and Ford Ranger showcases the party’s emphasis on effective logistics, mobilisation, and support for its candidates during the elections.

These vehicles not only showcase the ruling party’s financial strength, but also symbolise its unwavering determination to retain power.

As President Mnangagwa, accompanied by Amai, exuberantly made his way into the Convention Centre, the atmosphere was charged with excitement. Whistles, singing and ululations filled the air, emanating from the ecstatic cadres who had gathered to listen to their leader. The President’s beatific smile and waving gestures spoke volumes about his genuine connection with the people.

President Mnangagwa’s effervescent mood was contagious, and it set the tone for an inspiring and invigorating event. Before taking his seat, the President delighted the aspiring MPs and guests with his signature “Kutonga Kwaro” song and dance, a vibrant display of energy and enthusiasm. With bird-like movements of his hands, he embodied the spirit of progress and determination.

Aspiring Zanu PF candidates follow proceedings at the party national ideology and mobilisation strategy workshop in Gweru yesterday.

Once the five-day workshop was officially opened by President Mnangagwa, the aspiring candidates were infused with a sense of confidence and optimism. Speaking on behalf of Bulawayo Central Constituency, Cde Tendai Charuka expressed their readiness for the upcoming election. He emphasised the valuable lessons learned from the President, focusing on the importance of peace, unity, and development. 

The candidates pledged to work tirelessly in their respective constituencies, building a strong foundation for the party’s success.

“We learned a lot about how we are going to work so that the party wins Bulawayo Central. The President also emphasised peace, unity and development and that is what we are doing as we built our constituency,” he said.

Cde Madron Matiza from Gokwe-Sesame constituency said he is looking forward to retaining the constituency to the ruling party.

“We are going to show the people that we are embracing the same spirit that our forefathers had, the same spirit that saw thousands of our people taking up arms to free our country. We are working in Gokwe-Sesame so that such gains are not reversed by losing the seat to the opposition,” he said.

Cde Molly Mpofu said aspiring candidates had been taught by President Mnangagwa to put the party first.

“We were taught that no one is above the party and we should all work for the party so that we win the forthcoming elections. Time for personal fights is over,” she said.

Cde Brown Ndlovu of Vungu Constituency said taking from President Mnangagwa’s opening remarks, he will push for more people-centred projects for the socio-economic development of the constituency.

“Where there is a need for clean water with the support of the party and President we have managed to identify eight borehole sites to provide water for domestic use, dip tanks and gardening. The provision of water will even help to come up with income generating projects such as goat keeping and poultry,” he said.

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