The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Conference to Strategise for Polls

Photo: AllAfrica
ZANU-PF supporters.

The Zanu-PF Annual National People's Conference should devise ways that guarantee resounding victory in harmonised elections next year, the party's provinces said yesterday. The conference roars into life in Gweru this Friday under the theme: "Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Jobs".

Delegates have already started arriving in Gweru for the event.

In separate interviews with the Herald, Zanu-PF provincial chairpersons said the conference should explore ways of regaining and reinforcing support from the electorate throughout the country to ensure the revolutionary party wins.

"This conference is going to be a small congress. It is a conference that is coming when people are geared for elections next year. As Masvingo province, we expect the conference to come up with a winning strategy in the elections. We feel that the conference will help us regain lost seats. It is a different conference that will boost our spirits," said Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Cde Lovemore Matuke.

He added: "It is also a conference where we are going to have our President (Mugabe) as the only candidate . . . we chose him at congress and we are going to ensure that our candidate wins next year."

All Zanu-PF provinces have endorsed President Mugabe as the party's presidential candidate in the harmonised polls. Cde Matuke said Masvingo province was already in an election mood and was ready to regain seats lost to the MDC-T in the 2008 polls.

Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Cde Dickson Mafios said the conference should prepare Zanu-PF for the elections.

"We want to see the party rejuvenated to win elections resoundingly next year," he said.

Cde Mafios said Zanu-PF should allow party cadres -- both old and new -- to contest the elections in order to capture the interest of the majority. Cde Mafios said the province also expected the conference to address issues to do with economic emancipation through indigenisation. It further wants the conference to come up with ways of fully supporting farmers to ensure food security.

"We want banks to provide affordable financial loans to farmers. While we appreciate the Presidential input support scheme, we feel companies must also join in with support like inputs," he said.

Cde Mafios said the province embarked on a verification exercise to account for Zanu-PF members from ward, district and provincial level in preparation for elections. Mashonaland Central is a Zanu-PF stronghold.

In Matabeleland South, Zanu-PF provincial chairperson Cde Andrew Langa said the elections should top deliberations at conference.

"I think this conference will be an exciting one. It will look at how we will approach elections next year. We have only a few months left before the elections and conference is expected to strategise for the polls," Cde Langa said.

He expressed confidence that Zanu-PF would regain seats lost to other political parties in the 2008 elections. Cde Langa said Matabeleland South expected the conference to come up with ways of eradicating hunger in the province and other drought prone areas in the country through the promotion of irrigation schemes.

Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Cde John Mafa said the conference should come up with mechanisms that guard against the imposition of candidates during primary elections.

"We must not impose candidates on the electorate. People should be free to elect candidates of their choice. As a province we want to make sure that all seats in Mashonaland West are won by Zanu-PF," he said.

On what the province was doing to galvanise support for Zanu-PF ahead of the polls, Cde Mafa said: "Right now we are making sure that all structures are in place and there are no vacancies. We are also ensuring that our members have national identity cards to enable them to vote next year."

Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Cde Ray Kaukonde said the conference should thoroughly prepare the party for the elections. He said Zanu-PF was in a better position to win the elections considering the glaring shortcomings in MDC-T run councils throughout the country.

"We are seeing it in Marondera. What more have they been running a country? We have to defend our vote peacefully," Cde Kaukonde said.

He also spoke on corruption saying Zanu-PF should decisively act on the scourge where its members are implicated.

"Corruption is the main cancer where our party is accused. Those who are corrupt should be weeded out," Cde Kaukonde said.

Bulawayo provincial chairman Cde Killian Sibanda concurred with other provincial leaders that the party was supposed to come up with a winning formula to defeat MDC formation in next year polls.

"We want the party to come up with ways to defeat the MDC-T in next year's elections. We also want to see the consolidation of economic empowerment strategies. Its only Zanu-PF that liberated the country and continued to empower the people economically," said Cde Sibanda.

Manicaland provincial chairman Cde Mike Madiro said; "We are looking forward to having serious strategies that will ensure we win the harmonised elections. When we come out of the conference, we must be one and united party. The conference should send a clear message that Zanu-PF is the only party that has a mandate to lead the country."

He said it was imperative that the party consolidated the indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes for the benefit of the people, adding the party was supposed to reaffirm the "wise leadership of President Mugabe".

Deputy Zanu-PF chairperson for Midlands province Cde Larry Mavhima, who also chairs the Midlands Development Association that is spearheading the construction of the giant conference centre, said like any other provinces they were expecting the meeting to come up with resolutions that ensured the party's victory in polls.

"While this is a normal conference like any others that has been held before, this one is a little bit different in that it has special interest of the elections that are just coming a few months later. We expect the party to make sure the indigenisation and empowerment programmes benefit the people," he said.

Harare and Matabeleland North provincial chairpersons, comrades Amos Midzi and Richard Moyo could not be reached on their phones yesterday.

President Mugabe will officially open the conference on Friday. Over 5000 delegates are expected to attend the annual event.

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