Thursday, December 16, 2010

ZANU-PF Conference Roars Into Life Today

Zanu-PF conference roars into life today

From Mabasa Sasa and Sydney Kawadza in MUTARE
Zimbabwe Herald

THE 11th Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference roars into life today with the party’s President and First Secretary, Cde Mugabe, expected to officially open proceedings with a keynote address to delegates.

Hordes of delegates began arriving here yesterday for the crucial meeting which is expected to chart the party’s strategies for next year’s elections.

This year’s conference is like a throwback to the third edition that was held here in 1997 in the wake of revelations by the Labour government of former British premier Tony Blair, whose secretary for international development, Claire Short, wrote a letter trying to absolve the British of their colonial obligations to fund land reforms in Zimbabwe.

This year’s conference comes in the midst of equally sho-cking revelations from the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, about how Zanu-PF’s partners in Government, the two MDC formations, have been colluding with western powers in a bid to undo the gains of independence.

To this end, President Mugabe, in his capacity as Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, has already said he is not prepared to continue with the Global Political Agreement, which brings Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations together.

The President recently said he would not extend the inclusive Government’s lifespan for more than six months beyo-nd its agreed expiry date in February next year.

The 11th Annual People’s Conference was preceded by Zanu-PF Politburo and Central Committee meetings in Harare on Tuesday.

A senior party official yesterday said, "I cannot divulge the full agenda of the meetings that will be held, but in essence we are looking at how we will go about regaining the ground we lost in the 2008 elections. Key policy issues to be discussed are indigenisation, economic empowerment, the state of the party and next year’s polls.

"Needless to say, we are geared to resoundingly win the elections. Our leader has publicly stated that elections will be held next year and we are going to enter them an untied and rejuvenated party because of this conference."

The conference theme is "Total control of our resources through indigenisation and empowerment".

Zanu-PF’s last Annual People’s Conference was in 2008 in Goromonzi and the party held its scheduled congress in Harare last year.

The congress is held after every five years.

A business expo is running concurrently with the conference and yesterday exhibitors were setting up their stands.

Several leading companies will be showcasing their goods and services. The chair of the party’s national fund-raising committee, Cde Noah Mangondo said the expo would be held with all future conferences.

He said, "We have done all the ground work and we are expecting more exhibitors to come and take part by the time the conference starts.

"We want to give this conference a new profile and expa-nd the business expo so that it’s held annually.

"The exhibition gives businesspeople an opportunity to network with their leaders while they showcase their products and services."

War vets’ factions to attend conference

From Tendai Mugabe in MUTARE

TWO factions battling for control of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association will both attend the 11th Zanu-PF National People’s Conference that starts here today.

This follows media claims that the Zanu-PF leadership had barred the factions from attending the conference until they resolved their internal issues.

The war veterans’ body is an affiliate of Zanu-PF.

Two factions — one led by Cde Jabulani Sibanda and another by Cde Joseph Chinotimba — have emerged in the organisation in recent years and have established parallel structures.

It is understood that some war veterans petitioned the Zanu-PF leadership at a Politburo meeting held at the party’s headquarters on Monday.

The war veterans reportedly wanted clarification as to why they were not invited to the conference.

In an interview yesterday, Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said both factions were invited to the conference.

"We have invited the whole organisation and all the groupings of the liberation fighters are coming to the conference," he said.

The war veterans’ association split last year following the expiry of Cde Jabulani Sibanda’s five year-term as chairman.

A section of the grouping backed him to lead them for another term while another one emerged in opposition to this.

Cde Chinotimba claimed chairmanship of the organisation and the two factions subsequently held separate congresses.

Cde Sibanda’s faction held its congress in Mt Darwin early this year and he was retained as chairman while Cde Chinotimba’s faction failed to hold its congress that was scheduled for Chinhoyi.

President Mugabe has encouraged the factions to unite and work together, pointing out that divisions will hamper the party’s efforts to rebuild.

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