The voice of the people is the voice of God: ED

The voice of the people is the voice of God: ED
Zanu PF First Secretary and President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa addresses delegates at the revolutionary party's extraordinary congress in Harare yesterday.-(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Zanu PF First Secretary and President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa addresses delegates at the revolutionary party’s extraordinary congress in Harare yesterday.-(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

We publish here the keynote address by His Excellency, the President and First Secretary of zanu-pf, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa to the zanu-pf Extraordinary Congress, Harare, December 15, 2017

I am humbled and indeed honoured to greet you and welcome you all to this Extraordinary Congress of our Party, the Zimbabwe African Union-Patriotic Front! In welcoming you all, may I recognise in a very special way those comrades representing sister liberation movements with whom we shared the trenches in our struggles for national independence. Furthermore, I also recognise delegates representing other political parties from the region and beyond, with whom we enjoy warm, fraternal relations.

You are most welcome and rest assured that you are among comrades, ideological soul mates, brothers and sisters who warmly embrace you in your individual capacity and as emissaries of your parties and governments.

This convocation is thus ours together. Comrades, delegates, we meet today in Extraordinary Session of Congress of the Party, which brings together leadership from the district level to the Central Committee.

First and foremost, we must all recognise that we convene here primarily as members of the Party, bound by the duties and obligations of all Party members as outlined in Article 3, Section 21 sub-sections 1 to 6 of our Party Constitution, which states the following.

Duties of members
Every member of the Party shall have the duty to:
1. to be loyal.
2. to observe and abide by the policies, rules and regulations of the Party;
3. to strive continuously to raise the level of his/her own political and social consciousness and understanding of the Party policies;
4. to strengthen, promote and defend the Party and popularise its policies among the people;
5. to conduct himself/herself honestly and honourably in his/her dealings with the Party and public and not to bring the Party into disrepute and ridicule; and,
6. to pay regular subscriptions.”

To this end, the spirit and letter of this Constitutional provision must guide, not only today as we deliberate on the agenda of this Extraordinary Congress but all our party interactions at every level.

Today I address you as a newly draped President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF, subject of course, to the ratification, by this august gathering of the resolution of the Extraordinary Session of the Central Committee held on 19th November 2017, which appointed me to the helm of our Party. I feel the full weight of this new role which is made lighter by the wealth of experience and systems synthesised into clear rules, procedures and traditions we have built together as a Party over the years.

I heartily pay tribute to comrades who have served in different leadership positions at various stages of our revolutions pre- and post-Independence. Join me as I salute luminaries of our great nation – the late Comrades Herbert Chitepo, Leopold Tapfumaneyi Takawira, Josiah Magama Tongogara, Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, Nikita Alfred Mangena, Simon Vengesai Muzenda and Father of Zimbabwe Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

I equally pay homage to my predecessor and immediate past president of our Party Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe who steered the ship of our Party and its Government until I assumed the reigns. Today, the burden to carry on from where the forebears left, remains real, and the responsibilities to discharge it is ours collectively together, as a united party Zanu-PF.

Subject to the constitutional procedures of this Extraordinary Congress as aforementioned, I am humbled by the faith you have shown in me and I pledge to lead up to your expectations.

Comrades Delegates, Distinguished Guests:
Zanu-PF is a great Party, so too, is its history and its mission as it entered into a covenant with the people of Zimbabwe, one underwritten with sacred blood of heroes, some of who died while others live with frightening bodily marks and invisible injuries of trauma from a protracted war of liberation. This fact of Zanu-PF special status and standing as the Party of national liberation makes it a national heritage and a courier of national legacy and, above all a definer of our country’s future. Thus, Zanu-PF as the governing Party, makes and requires it to be a national home for all.

It must also be an instrument available for a national purpose and a destiny. Zanu-PF can therefore, not exclude, divide or fragment, nor be allowed to sag or succumb for lack of foresighted leadership. To this end, our party must be an instrument for the realisation of the collective dreams of our nation and its people. It must take bold positions on matters of national interest, importance and conscience.

That is our duty and responsibility as a party of national liberation which wields power responsibly, and which runs the Government of our great nation with responsibility.

Comrades Delegates,
Democracy, equality and the rule and respect of the law and the Constitution runs through the very blood and genetic makeup of our Party, pre-dating Independence. In this regard, we must always encourage and instill intra-party democracy at all levels. Party structures from the cell/village levels right up to the Central Committee must be platforms in which the membership discusses freely without fear or favour, matters concerning the Party as well as developmental issues, which affect their communities and the nation at large.

Equally, elections at all levels in the Party must be undertaken as guided by the rules and regulations of the Party, free of chicanery, manipulation and favouritism. In the same vein, democracy bids that as a political Party, Zanu-PF must always compete for office, through pitting itself against opposition parties in elections, which must be credible, free, fair and transparent.

Our Party Constitution in Article 2 section 9 obligates the Party, “to create conditions for the establishment of a democratic, political and social order which guarantees in perpetuity that the Government of the state shall be answerable to the people through periodic free and fair elections based on universal adult’s suffrage.” This we will continue to do as we have since Independence and I have already announced that the 2018 Harmonised General Elections will be held as scheduled.

In planning and conducting these elections, our position as the ruling party demands that we carry the nation we liberated, securing all who live within its borders, upholding the national Constitution, laws and values as well as defending and safeguarding our country’s sovereignty. Above all, we must ensure peace over our land, towards whose nurturing and preservation we must spare no effort.

We who are called upon to lead Zanu-PF, and because of that privilege, our nation, must remember this at all times. We must vow to observe the rule of law, to live and to govern in accordance with the tenets of our struggle, for failure to do so, we undoubtedly result in damnation from the Party, whatever our rank or level.

Comrade Delegates,
The Party Constitution in Article 5 Section 26 provides that an Extraordinary Congress may be convened as guided by subsections there under. Over and above meeting the Party’s constitutional requirements, this Extraordinary Congress convenes against the backdrop of events and developments of the past few weeks which have become known as “Operation Restore Legacy”.

These events were both dramatic and epochal for our Party and our nation. Millions of Zimbabweans, young and old, urban and rural, wide-eyed children and battle-hardened war veterans came together to make themselves heard and to call for a shift in direction, a New Era, a prosperous future for all people.

I would like to salute the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Doctor Constatino Nyikadzino Guveya Chiwenga and all the members of the Defence Forces for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow Zimbabweans and for putting the peace and stability of Zimbabwe first!

I would also like to extend my deepest appreciation to the war veterans who stood strong in the face of threats and at times personal persecution as they fought for our glorious nation and its heritage.

I equally commend the Party’s Provincial leadership throughout the country and the Central Committee as well as the Party Members of Parliament, who were decisive in their resolve to bring to completion the fulfillment of the desires of the people of Republic of Zimbabwe, within the confines of our Party Zanu-PF and National Constitution respectively.

Through the actions of all involved, our constitutional and democratic order was respected and upheld. Humanity glowed and shown, thereby ensuring that no single life was lost as a direct result.

It was the voice of the people, of the nation, with all its various institutions, which was decisive and which convinced an astonished world that what was at issue was a “National Question”, and that the question would be resolved internally without outside help. We showed remarkable capacity of resolving conflicts in an amicable way, and of speedily resetting society back to normalcy on our own terms and in our own way.

Indeed, the people of Zimbabwe demonstrated that they are united by its flag, its anthem, its history and its future. This should be a matter of pride for our Party and all Zimbabweans. The voice of the people is the voice of God! “Operation Restore Legacy” was about our Nation: its past, its present and most of all its future, which had indeed become threatened.

It was about securing a future for our current and future generations. Furthermore, it was about rescuing, restoring and reasserting the founding ideals, values, principles and traditions of our national liberation struggles, as espoused by our Party, Zanu-PF.

The traditions that we held and still hold so dear, stood imperilled by a cabal of counter-revolutionary upstarts who weevil-like and over time, had burrowed deep into the pith of our Party and its structures, in the process compromising its leadership. It has destabilised the Party, causing absolute divisions and disquiet in this nation, which sat on edge.

The Party ideology, rules and protocols were being desecrated daily; or simple being brushed aside at will. Party structures were overrun, while elected office bearers were summarily suspended and dismissed at speeds of caprice and vaulting ambition. Corrupt activities and corrupt individuals were being daily sanitised while millions were being stolen and stashed out of the country.

The economy blurred from repeated, rampant smuggling. The county was violated with impurity. Disaffection was building especially from among the youths who were seeing their hopes of bright future slipping away. Veterans who had sacrificed for the liberation of this country were not just being reviled ; they were being abused and incarcerated on flimsy pretexts.

Party events where manipulatively re-engineered to contrive to show populated and unanimity. Party mobilisation was reduced to coercion. Party rallies became expensively choreographed pseudo-events dominated by a roving core group which used different venues in order to create an misleading illusion of populism which belied the bitter discontent which simmered beneath, threatening to boil over.

Clearly this was no longer the ZANU PF you and l had pledged our membership and loyalty to. Thus we all watched in dismay as the Party that won this nation’s independence and achieved so much development having its founding values supplanted. The ZANU PF l believe in is a progressive, forward thinking party that exist to serve the Zimbabwean people.

It is party that has a proud history and a bold vision for the future. It is a party that offers hope and opportunities to women, youths as well as the marginalised and disadvantaged persons among us. ZANU PF is without doubt a party that represents each and every Zimbabwean, irrespective of tribe, race, gender, age, social standing or economic class.

Let us draw lessons from all that has happened. We must vehemently defend to the hilt the Party values, culture and traditions. Revolutions do get infiltrated and corrupted, and once corrupted, they degenerate and lose direction.

We must never lower our guard, and must arrest any negative tendencies that creep into the Party before the take hold, corrupt and alienate us. The responsibility to defend and protect our Party’s constitution, and the ideals of our revolution, its history and legacy, falls squarely on each and every cadre of the Party.

Let us remain genuine cadres and not turn careerists who, lichen-like, fasten on Party structures, programmes and personages, all for self-gain and self enrichment.

Moving into the future, I exhort us all to be disciplined and in many ways reinvent our politics in many ways that hearken back to wartime templates and practices which won us the trust and confidence of the people; which won us a war in 1980 and helped us to repeatedly win elections since then and renewing our mandate and covenant with the people of Zimbabwe and again and again.

We must now, all of us return to source in order to repair the Party and regain the trust of the people, who have for long been poisoned by misdeeds and excesses of the counter-revolutionaries who had infiltrated our Party rank and file. In this regard, war veterans have a big role to play, they are not expendable; their value far exceeds the numerical value of their vote.

We should give them a pride of place, appreciating the sacrifices they made in the past, valuing their current role in socialising the youths on the Party norms and ethos as we chart a course for the future, well embedded in the stem foundations of our past. I, thus, urge the Party to manage inter-generational transitions so the spirit of the struggle is returned and passed on as a living tissue.

We must therefore thrive to offer a positive, progressive vision for the future which tallies with the hopes and dreams of all. In this regard, we should not be a Party of the past; we must also be a part for the future, a Party for posterity. Let us all be alive to the fact that successful parties constantly renew themselves, speaking to women, youths and the disadvantaged.

Equally it is essential to constantly engage with all stakeholders across the socio, economic and political spectrum and indeed across borders, to make ourselves responsive and relevant. Comrades, there is therefore urgent need for training interventions to realign, refocus and recalibrate our membership at all levels countrywide to align with this new impetus.

Party work must not be in the old mould of looking at ZANU-PF as being about politics, politics and politics only. Now we must be about Politics and Economics after all, the best politics emerge from the market place where livelihoods are made! I am confident that the reconstructed Department of Commissariat together with departments will be up to the task in this new era of our party.

Comrade Delegates
I urge the Party to introspect and self adjust in conformity with the principles, mores and genes of the ZANU PF. In this regard, Article 2 of our Party’s Constitution outlines the Aims and Objectives of our Party as inter alia being, “to oppose resolutely tribalism, regionalism, nepotism, corruption, racism, religious fanaticism, xenophobia and related intolerance, discrimination on the grounds of sex and all forms of exploitation of man by man in Zimbabwe,”(Section 14).

In line with this instruction therefore, my ascendance to the helm of the party must never be interpreted as a defeat of one faction and installation of another. My Presidency should not be perceived as a rise in the fortunes of a region, or a tribe or a totem, no. My Presidency is about a united ZANU-PF, a national party with a national outlook.

I stand before you therefore as the President of a united, non-racial Zimbabwe, itself home to many tongues, dialects, cultures, colours, age groups. I am a President of women and men; the young and the old; the able-bodied and the physically challenged; the rich and the poor; the well and the sick. I am an emissary of all the veterans and heroes, dead or alive who through their blood sketched the cause and mission which my Presidency must promote, must actualise and advance.

I am a President for Ndebeles, Shonas, Zezurus,Ndaus, Karangas, Manyikas, Vendas , the Chewas, Sothos.
I am also the President for the Tongas, Tswanas, Xhosas, Khoisans, Shangaans, Kalangas, Nambyans and other races, all who are celebrated in our national Constitution.
The role you have given me, and the Office you have inserted me into can never be partitioned to anyone.

The praise song I desire, if you were to sing one is that of our national anthem and those from liberation struggle. Sing those to me and I am content and overjoyed! In the light of the above, regionalism, factionalism and titles such as “G40” and “Lacoste” must be condemned and migrate from the body of our Party forthwith. As the leadership of the Party gathered in this Extraordinary Session of Congress, let us commit to unite the Party membership.

We must be unwavering, consistent and persistent. I urge us all to unflinchingly toe the Party line as guided by our Party Constitution. Indiscipline, corruption and desecration of the values of Ubuntu/Hunhu must never, never again find place in our Party.
Ndiro gwara reZanu-PF, ndiro gwara remusangano.

Comrades Delegates,
This Congress must define a new trajectory for our party and our country.
Let us reassert discipline, order and harmony in the Party and put behind us victimisation and which hunting of the past.
We must thus embrace each other, and the world, forging better relations with other peoples and other nations.

We must thus take pride in our abilities and resources, guarding ourselves from being opinionated to the extent of not knowing that we need and benefit from mutually beneficial partnerships with the rest of the world. The speech I made upon my return from exile on 21 November, 2017 at Zanu-PF Headquarters, my inauguration speech on 24 November, 2017 and the recent 2018 National Budget Statement gave the world a peep into the new era we seek to build.

We mean well; we stand as a nation of its word, of its promise. We are committed to repair broken relations desiring to rebuild our economy so it gives jobs to our people especially the youths, and improves the living standards of all our people. In all this, the Party must lead and ensure that the Government is properly briefed and guided as we assert the supremacy of the Party over Government.

Comrades, Delegates, Distinguished Guests,
Before me is the Central Committee Report, being a record of our activities since our last Congress. This is in fulfilment of requirement of our Party Constitution which obligates the Central Committee to report to Congress ,on behalf of which it makes decisions in between sittings. It is an expansive report and covers activities since 2014 when Congress was last convened.

Reports of all departments are captured for your attention and noting. I, therefore, present it to Congress confident that it will provide a good basis for a broad conversation in order to renew the Party and, with that renewal to revitalise or nation. With these remarks, I Commend and table the Central Committee Report to you for your consideration.

God Bless our Party, Zanu-PF!
God Bless Zimbabwe!
I thank you.

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