The 13th Zanu-PF Annual National People's Conference begins in Gweru today when it will be officially opened by the First Secretary and President of the Party, Cde Robert Mugabe at the new conference centre built specifically for the convention.
Being held under the theme, "Indigenise, Empower, Develop, Create Employment", the conference is unique in that it precedes the watershed election scheduled for early next year, making it a de facto congress.
Naturally elections should be part of the agenda as the whole revolution can either be won or lost at the stroke of a pen. It is thus providential that Zanu-PF meets at a time the inclusive Government is in its twilight and there is need for the conference to ensure that heading into next year's watershed election, the party does not once again find itself in circumstances necessitating another coalition Government.
After the March 2008 harmonised elections, Zanu-PF found itself in circumstances necessitating a coalition with the same people who had been working to undo the gains of our independence that came at the cost of so many precious lives.
And the problems were largely self-inflicted after the party opted to impose candidates turning a deaf ear to the pleas of constituents. In the end the party fielded more than one candidate in several constituencies and ended up splitting the vote in favour of the MDC-T.
Conference must resolve that the primary elections should be genuine contests where one's standing in the party is not an issue, but whether one can deliver votes for Zanu-PF.
We hope the party leadership will discuss and resolve the conflicts that landed them in the current mess where, despite prevailing in the popular vote on March 29, 2008 and the subsequent run off, they still had to compromise with an openly hostile opposition beholden to the country's common detractors.
The venue, Gweru, is also unique in that it was in the same city in May 1964 that Zanu held its inaugural congress at which Cde Mugabe was elected secretary general.
That first congress also laid out the agenda for the liberation struggle that was duly launched through the battle of Chinhoyi on April 28, 1966.
And next year's poll bids the party to ensure the gains of the revolution are defended and secured through a resounding victory.
We are, however, encouraged by the conference theme "Indigenise, Empower, Develop, Create Employment" which sums up the aspirations of all progressive Zimbabweans.
If properly implemented indigenisation and economic empowerment can enable the country to develop a genuine, wealth-creating middle class that has been the missing link to development in many post-colonial societies.
Zanu-PF is the party of the revolution and it can't afford the luxury of giving detractors an easy victory.
We, however, take comfort in the theme that shows that the leadership is aware of the problems confronting the nation and is keen to address them.
The detractors are united at home and abroad and Zanu-PF can ill-afford division, for as the Bible tells us, a house divided against itself cannot stand.
To this end we remind the leadership that expectations are high, among both party members and neutrals alike, that the conference will come up with practical resolutions to resolve the multifaceted challenges confronting the people.