December 9, 2011
On behalf of our Party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, I warmly greet and welcome you all to our 12th Annual National People’s Conference which is being hosted by the Bulawayo Province as unanimously agreed by our Party. This is an annual event which we deliberately set towards the end of every year so we have an effective, decision-making mechanism for running and servicing our Party between Congresses.
And because this particular Conference takes place just ahead of an election year, it automatically assumes the status and consequence of a real Congress. Thus by way of subject matter and decisions, this whole gathering assumes the full weight of our Congress. Such is the gravity of this two-in-one gathering.
In the same spirit, I warmly welcome delegates from within our region and beyond who have joined us as emissaries of their respective parties. We value this show of inter-party solidarity and hope you will find our proceedings both interesting and enriching by way of showing you how we tackle challenges we face in our own situation. Again, a warm welcome to you all!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrade Delegates.
We meet at a time of great events and epochal changes in the world. A time of great, epochal changes to the north of us, in the Afro-Arab World of North Africa. There we have seen momentous turbulence now collectively known as the “Arab Spring.” This wave of popular demonstrations has definitely challenged political establishments, some of which had lasted for decades. Events in Libya and to a certain extent Egypt leave us unsure of what the end in those countries will be.
Much worse, we have seen clear evidence of intolerable Western intrusion on our Continent, intrusion whose worst form was the brutal and bloody tragedy we all saw in Libya. The Western world intervened, seemingly in the name of the United Nations. On that flimsy veneer of legitimacy, the well-developed but autocratic nation of Libya was bombed to Stone Age with Gaddafi cruelly and brutally assassinated together with his children. Today, that country is rubble, littered with ruins caused by American and Nato terrorist bombs. Lots of lives were lost, ironically under Resolution 1973 of the United Nations whose informing principle was “the responsibility to protect” civilians. Nato, that is Europe and America killed Libyan civilians ostensibly in order to protect them! History could not have moved in a more cynical way.
Against this naked intrusion, Africa was both unprepared and ill-prepared. Africa was disunited. The already weak continent weakened itself even further. Whatever our stance in the African Union, we undermined ourselves by voting for war on African soil. Today, we have a broken nation, a broken people, broken lives, broken hope. If this trend persists against our own acquiescence, we face the grim prospect of broken Independence. As a liberation movement, Zanu-PF cannot be indifferent to this most inauspicious turn of history. It is a turn which challenges our sacrifices yesterday, indeed, challenges our achievements today by way of the freedom and Independence we enjoy, and hope to pass on to posterity tomorrow and forever. The events in Libya have sound grim forebodings for our continent and we have to take a stance.
Before the guns of invasion had been silenced, indeed while the blood of the Libyan people was still being drawn, Europe, led by France and Britain, were already having a revivalist mini-Berlin Conference to divide amongst themselves the spoils of that war, principally oil and reconstruction projects. This amounted to a second pillage of Libya, indeed of our Continent, to utter silence on our part as the African Union. Countries like our own Zimbabwe, which is so richly endowed with minerals, and thus so dangerously marked by global imperialism, need to remain very vigilant, always ready to sacrifice for the defence of our Independence and natural resources.
Ordinarily, a party like Zanu-PF, born and built in circumstances of a revolution, the fact of a people’s movement must establish instant affinities between us and any such movements wherever they may be. In them, we should see ourselves vicariously. But the North African movements raise grave concerns. As already indicated, we still have to grasp their identities in the context of the African revolution which must always be anti-colonial, anti-imperialistic. Rather, we clearly see the serious efforts deployed by the same forces of imperialism to redirect the bursting energies of a rebelling people towards self-destruction.
Another lesson for all of us is that imperialism cannot be appeased, can never be placated through any concessions or deals. It does not keep its word. Gaddafi, we are told, invested in Europe and America. He even sponsored the re-election of those who shot at him in the end. Much worse, he agreed to be disarmed by his enemies who fawned love and affection. Our revolution must never blink. It must remain wide awake, always vigilant and equipped for its own defence. After all, Kwame Nkrumah, the Ghanaian founder leader and father of new Africa warned us a long time ago that only a dead imperialist is a good one. We must remain strong and steadfast against Western imperialism. We cannot cut deals with it.
We are going through a war-like phase of global capitalism. Today it is oil; tomorrow it shall be our diamonds, platinum, uranium, gold, copper, nickel, iron, manganese, chrome and all. We have all these coveted resources, which is why there will always be attempts to challenge our sovereignty.
Whereas in the past all development aid, capital and technology came from the West, we now have a whole new world to relate to, a world with a better appreciation of our situations and aspirations. I am happy to inform you that this alternative capital and technology is already beginning to show itself in our systems. We need to expand that collaborative thrust, all based on equal terms and mutual advantage.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrade Delegates.
In my analysis of the turbulent events of North Africa, I made reference to the dangers of economically excluding the masses from mainstream economic activity. Societies that run on unevenness, run on the principle of shutting out the vast majority of people from mainstream economy, are bound to come to grief, sooner rather than later. Zanu-PF has grasped and understood this primary lesson of societal studies! Unevenness and inequalities are core causes to instability. After all, our revolution was founded on ensuring and assuring the Zimbabwean people of some place in the economic sun.
We did not go to war so the white man continues to run our affairs here. We did not lose so many lives so all those widows, grief-stricken mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts and nieces would settle back to a life of want as in colonial Rhodesia. We fought a war; won that war to win total freedom, total Independence! With that victory the vote had to come. It came. With that victory, the instruments of power by way of Government had to come. They came. With that victory, democracy had to come. It came, brought by us. With that victory, education for all had to come. It came. With that victory, racial discrimination had to end. It ended. With that victory, social services and amenities had to reach all people in equal or at the very least comparable measure regardless of colour or creed. That, too, happened. Yes, with that victory the land, the land, the land, itself the grievance of all grievances, had to come back to its true owners. It did. The land has come, never to go back under whatever circumstances.
Today I tell you that with that victory, our national economy, our natural resources have to come back to us, without any more delay! The resources must revert to us the true owners. They are God-given; the only ones we can ever have as Zimbabweans. They are finite; once scooped out, they subtract from our total stock. Ours is not to prosper children of other Nations while our own grow spectre-thin. Ours is not to develop far away nations, while our own people are condemned to hunger, disease and indigence. No! No! No!
Izvozvo taramba zvachose. Siyala! Tinoti takarwirei? Takafirei?
Zanu-PF developed the policy of indigenisation and economic empowerment well before the Inclusive Government. It is our policy which today has taken the form of the law of the land. We conceived it, we developed it, and we pushed it through Parliament until it became law. By the same token, we are its sole defenders, against any and all odds. It goes back to the pith of our war aims, the pith of our whole struggle. It is a matter of life and death for us as an African people seeking real Independence. Let no one fool themselves into thinking we are bluffing. Let them ask the Rhodesians who will tell them Zanu-PF does not play games with matters of blood and sacrifice. This economy shall indigenise, in our lifetime! We are the generation that has been fated by history to make that happen, fated to carve a new place of pride for the African underdog. We dare not flinch.
We have already made a beginning on this policy whose impact should be national. Zimplats pioneered implementation of a facet of this policy of many elements, pioneered modestly in my view. Let them not rest thinking they are done.
They are not, and we shall be asking them to move up, up, up until they satisfy our policy, namely that 51 percent control must rest with our people. Other nations do it; we cannot be different. Unki followed suit and like Zimplats, we will remind them more remains to be done. In both instances, communities who house these resources have been rewarded through a community ownership scheme. Our wish is to cover the rest of the country.
Today we still have the patience to negotiate, to sit and talk with these companies which have been exploiting our resources without putting back much into our communities. Time shall come when we shall not have the patience to talk. We hope it does not get to that.
We are a liberation movement. Yesterday we did not fear to offer our own lives, however dear, to free our People.
It does not make sense that today we fear to enforce our indigenisation policy on grounds that the economy will collapse. We faced similar dire predictions during our land reform programme. We executed it regardless. Today agriculture is on the rebound, with our people in full charge. In that sub-sector, the shoots of a truly national economy are beginning to show, together with mining, agriculture is a financial carrier of the State, never mind the enormous if not insuperable difficulties which our farmers face with each season. We must never be daunted. After all Marange will always be in Zimbabwe, Unki in Zimbabwe, Zimplats in Zimbabwe, ZimAlloys in Zimbabwe. We would rather leave our resources intact than allow them to be exploited to our detriment. At 51 percent, we have been extremely generous.
Our country does not have an elected Government. I feel I am President to a political arrangement which is makeshift, undemocratic and illegitimate. The Global Political Agreement (GPA) which initially was meant to settle inter-party differences, today threatens to usurp an elementary and inalienable right of the people, that of freely choosing a Government which must run them. The people have been toppled by this thing called GPA. It was never meant to last beyond processes we all agreed were preliminary to the holding of elections. It was just an interregnum, a short transition to a more permanent political arrangement predicated on a free and fair election. But we have constitutional issues to resolve, issues which once debated by our people, drafted by our experts, would then be put back to the people through a referendum. There was a time frame to all that, time frame which has now been totally subverted in the name of budgetary constraints. Today we ask; why are our self-anointed democrats finding democracy too expensive to be an item for the budget, too costly and unimportant to be a priority? Is it because they have been in the kitchen long enough to discover its goodies, its warmth?
There have been too many shenanigans, subterfuges, wiles and tricks, all designed to stymie the wheels of democracy. We must denounce that. We must demand elections in the first half of next year, without fail. This state of so-called inclusiveness, which in reality is a state of national standstill, has not served this country well at all. True, it gave us peace, but that peace must yield a legitimate government free to pursue definite policies without hindrance. This is not so at present. So our Party needs to gear itself for elections. It needs to strengthen its structures, close ranks and pull in one direction so we secure a landslide victory in the elections which must come soon.
Lastly, we in Zanu-PF must renounce and denounce violence. We must reject violence. After all we are right. After all history is on our side. We are the only liberation movement there ever can be for Zimbabwe. We are conceivers of policies which are running the country. We have ideas of taking this country to a new pedestal of validating our people’s Independence. Everywhere else, there is clear bankruptcy, leaving us as the only real Party of ideas, programmes and courage to lead in this turbulent world, in these turbulent times. Our progressive ideas should be the sole tools of persuasion and mobilisation, never violence. Should we ever fight, it should strictly be in self-defence. Otherwise, peace, peace, perfect peace!
Long Live our Revolution!
Long Live Zimbabwe!
Long Live the People of Zimbabwe
Long Live our Freedom and Independence!
On that note, I now have the pleasure and honour of tabling the Central Committee Report for your consideration.
I thank you.