Nduduzo Tshuma in Harare
THE Zanu-PF Extra-Ordinary Congress being held here today marks a paradigm shift in the party that will see renewed efforts in addressing developmental and economic issues and cleansing it of toxic politics of counter-revolutionaries who sought to subvert its liberation ethos.
Addressing the 107th ordinary session of the Central Committee at the Zanu-PF headquarters here yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the party was focusing more on productivity and moving away from too much politicking as the practice was negatively affecting the growth of the party.
He cited the Presidential Youth Interface rallies during the tenure of his predecessor, Cde Robert Mugabe, as a platform hijacked by enemies of the revolution to push for a sinister agenda that saw the purging of cadres mostly with a liberation war background by political neophytes in the party.
“The Extra-Ordinary Congress equally marks a shift in paradigm of the party as we, more than ever before, concern ourselves with the bread and butter issues that affect the people we lead. The party at all levels must give due attention to the developmental and economic issues within their wards, districts and provinces,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Leaders must be truly servants of the people, moved by matters that affect the people.”
President Mnangagwa said there was a need, going forward, for a more symbiotic relationship between the party and the Government ministries, departments and agencies at the grassroot level.
He said party members at all levels should take part in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Government policies and programmes in line with the tenets of participatory democracy and governance encouraged by the constitution.
The President reiterated commitment to the creation of jobs especially for the youths, saying that both Government and party would make interventions to address unemployment.
“We will not be able to accomplish much for as long as our sense of party work remains hidebound in the old template of looking at Zanu-PF as about politics, politics and politics only. Let us recognise that the best politics emerge from the marketplace where livelihoods are made. The Central Committee must be at the centre of this new dynamic era which must pervade all party work into the future,” he said.
“Productivity across all sectors must be religiously encouraged, not only at a national level but at a disaggregated ward, district and provincial level. I urge us all to sleep, dream and walk in productivity. To this end, all our party members must be encouraged to do the same.”
He said communities and the party’s membership must always be kept abreast of the opportunities availed through various government interventions and policies.
President Mnangagwa paid tribute to the Central Committee for its resoluteness in defence of the party and freeing it from the clutches of counter revolutionaries under the moniker of the G40 faction.
“I applaud you for your boldness and courage as you did not shirk your responsibilities or flinch from taking decisions that were needful, against the adverse situation that had developed, threatening our party .
“You rose to the occasion showing and demonstrating that organs of the party, more so those at the apex, such as this one, must always show unswerving leadership for the survival of our party.”
President Mnangagwa said the Central Committee, the party’s highest decision making body between congresses, must assume full responsibility of repairing and re-engineering the party as well as putting it on a vibrant keel.
“This responsibility must never be abdicated or usurped for expedience. Not so much to feel pompous and indispensible, but to realise and wake up to the heavy responsibilities which it should discharge,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Central Committee members carry the huge burden of being exemplary leaders as their actions also impact on the image of the party.
He said he made the observation in light of recent developments in the party which also affected the country.
“This is with reference to attempts by a cabal of counter revolutionaries, infiltrators and foreign agents who went under the moniker of G40, to destabilise our party and hijack our revolution. As a result, their activities, the negative development in our party echoed throughout our nation, confirming that the stability of the country is inextricably tied to the stability of Zanu-PF,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Thus, we must draw lessons from all this, including hard and uncomfortable ones.”
It was disheartening as the party structures seemed helpless as the cabal pursued its sinister programmes using party platforms, structures and personnel, he said.
“The Interface Rallies. The majority of us thought the interface rallies were for mobilisation of Zanu-PF. No! No! No!. It was an agenda. They undermined party rules and procedures while pretending to be upholding and defending them. They undermined the leadership of the party while pretending to love and defending it. Their programme, therefore was one of subverting the party from within,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said a lesson drawn from the whole fiasco is ensuring the supremacy of the party by foregrounding values and ethos and upholding its rules, procedures as well as respecting its structures and processes.
“All these must reign supreme at all times, taking precedence over individual status, wishes or predilections. Never again, should the Central Committee watch while indiscipline, personalisation and abuse of the party and its structures take toot,” he said.
“From the past events within our party, it must henceforth be engrained in all of us that the party constitution is supreme and must be followed without deviation, to the spirit and letter and that no one individual or groups of individuals are superior to it.
“The constitution is the soul of our party, a strait jacket that prunes our behaviour and conduct as members, it moulds us so that we do not break, for it gives us shape and form. The duty of every genuine cadre of the party is to ensure that this holds true at every level of the party, at all times in all situations.”
President Mnangagwa emphasised the need to shun retribution and vindictiveness calling on forgiveness and cadres to embrace and correct some who erred in the past as a result of being misled by the notorious G40 cabal.
Turning to elections next year, he said the Government will do everything in its power to ensure that they are credible, free and fair. “In preparation, the party must invigorate its structures, organise, mobilise and meticulously ensure that all its members are registered to vote. We will, in the coming months, be meeting as the Central Committee to craft more concrete plans with regards these elections,” he said.