Tendai Mugabe and Innocent Ruwende
Any political party seeking to govern Zimbabwe should draw its mandate from the people through the ballot box, as no such entity has the divine right to rule despite its rich past history, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
President Mnangagwa was chosen by the Zanu-PF Central Committee, according to the country’s Constitution, to complete former President Robert Mugabe’s term after he resigned from the post last month.
In tandem with the vision of drawing the mandate from the people as pronounced by President Mnangagwa, the Zanu-PF commissariat department has since crafted a plan-of-action directed towards active preparations for 2018 harmonised elections, in which the party intends to woe five million voters.
Closing the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress that endorsed him as the revolutionary party’s Presidential candidate for next year’s harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa assured the nation that the polls would be free, fair and credible.
“As we approach the 2018 harmonised elections, let me reiterate that these will be credible, free and fair,” he said. “We must always be mindful that no party, however rich its past, has a divine right to govern. That is something we must earn at the ballot box. As such, the party must invigorate its structures, organise, mobilise and rigorously ensure that all its members are registered voters. If we do this, we are sure to renew the sacred trust that exists between Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwean people, and we will prevail in the 2018 elections. In the next few months, we will be informing you the concrete plans with regard to these elections.”
To win next year’s polls, President Mnangagwa said, Zanu-PF should show practical action towards economic recovery anchored on sound political policies. He said the party should also pioneer women projects and embrace the youths in its structures to ensure continuity.
“We have a crucial year ahead of us, with two main goals,” he said. “We must gain the support and trust of the Zimbabwean people in the 2018 harmonised elections, so that they elect us to lead them for another five years. And we must resurrect the economy, delivering real gains for each and every citizen of this great nation. These two tasks are interconnected. We will only win at the ballot box if we can show signs that we are reviving our economy; and at the same time, we will only be able to make real economic gains if we can secure re-election. Therefore, I see these two domains, the political and the economic, as equally significant for our future. Hence, the party must be about politics and economics.”
The plan-of-action for the 2018 harmonised elections drawn by Zanu-PF’s commissariat department includes mobilisation programmes from the Women’s League, Youth League, war veterans, war collaborators and ex-political detainees and restrictees.
It has already been adopted by the party’s Politburo.
According to the party’s Central Committee Report to the 2017 Special Extraordinary Congress last week, the adoption of the annual plan resulted in the “Dandemutande/Uhlelolobulwembu” and the “Musangano kumaCell” themes which shaped the 2017 programmes leading to 2018 elections.
“The party has a strong followership that has to be sustained, particularly in light of the impending harmonised elections,” reads the Central Committee report. “The department’s focus for 2017 was to mobilise and register voters for a resounding win in 2018.
“The “Dandemutande/Uhlelolobulwembu concept seeks to link every member of the party to a defined cell. The ultimate goal is to create party cells around the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission designated polling station specific voter registration and voting centres.”
This, the report indicated, would enable the party to establish its membership, which enhances its chances of election victory.
The department said it held fortnightly meetings with party provincial chairpersons, provincial political commissars, and representatives from women, youth, war veterans, war collaborators and ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees, which provided a platform to gather information and get feedback on important issues facing the party.
“The department commissariat) been implementing mobilisation strategies in urban centres, especially in Harare and Bulawayo,” reads the report. “It collaborated with Government ministries responsible for service delivery in urban areas namely, health, refuse collection, delivery of portable water, energy, employment creation, small and medium businesses, as well as local government to address service challenges in the urban areas.”
For the 2018 harmonised election, commissariat department said it was targeting to mobilise five million members to vote for the party.
It said special messages on voter education and voter registration continued to be packaged and sent out by senior party members who were periodically deployed to provinces since the mid-year inter district conference in August.
Addressing the Extraordinary Congress, President Mnangagwa said: “On the political front, we must all acknowledge that we inhabit a rapidly changing world, and our success will be dependent on how well we adapt. Almost half of all Zimbabweans were born in this millennia, and over three quarters have been born since independence. These young people have different expectations, and their skill set and technological know-how is completely different to those born even a decade before. They also have different experiences. The frame of reference for this generation are the economic struggles of the past decade, we must also listen to them. We must hear their hopes and fears. Our youths want to know how we will create jobs and opportunities for them. We must provide them with answers, rooted in the future.”
He continued: “Meanwhile, more effort must be put towards policy interventions which deliberately empower women with sustainable business opportunities. The Women’s League, during its mobilisation activities must keep its membership abreast with regards business possibilities, across all the economic sectors. The party will harness the collective experience from those fraternal parties who assisted us during our war of liberation and steadfastly supported us in the post independence of our country. To this end, we will see intensified and more coordinated approach to ideological training under the auspices of the Chitepo Ideological College.”