Mugabe claims 'Western leaders are afraid of me'

CHINHOYI – President Robert Mugabe yesterday said the MDC-T was all but “dead and buried” after the opposition party’s massive loss to Zanu PF in the July 31 harmonised elections.

Closing the three-day conference held in Chinhoyi, Mugabe said his party was now “born again” after the elections and now wanted to concentrate on delivering on its election promises.

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He said the MDC-T was no longer a stumbling block following the collapse of the Government of National Unity (GNU), vowing the opposition party would never “resurrect” after the loss.

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“They will never rise again,” Mugabe said. “We dug graves for them and interred them in those graves.”

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He said for the past four years, Zanu PF was being hamstrung by the GNU, hence the failure to improve the economy.

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Mugabe appeared energised as he delivered his speech and for the first time did not give his usual long history lectures.
Instead, he concentrated on economic and social issues.

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Mugabe said while Zanu PF was now “born again”, a similar rebirth was required for the collapsed industries in cities such as Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare. The Zanu PF leader pleaded with Zimbabweans to give his government time to improve and re-awaken the country.

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He said Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa should stop claiming that the government had no money, yet the country’s vast mineral resources were being massively exploited.

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“Find money Chinamasa. Where is our platinum, gold and diamonds going? You can’t say there is no money when others are taking it. Tell them we are the owners now and we are taking our money,” Mugabe said.

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He said the 2014 budget which will be presented by Chinamasa this week, must tell a new story on how the country is going economic-wise.

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Mugabe again promised to improve the salaries of civil servants saying they should be paid well above the poverty datum line.
Mugabe said Zimbabwe should learn from China which is now advanced technologically after copying and improving Japanese technology.

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He said the government would prioritise health delivery and infrastructure development, particularly in rural areas. “We want to make life better for rural people. I will not let you down,” Mugabe promised.

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Although Mugabe was conciliatory in his speech, he once again went into his usual anti-Western rant.

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Mugabe claimed that Western leaders and former leaders feared him and literally run away when they see him at international foras.

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“When I get there, Tony Blair [Former British Prime Minister] runs away. Do I have a contagious disease? Truly they run away. Instead of sitting and discussing, they run away,” he claimed.

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Mugabe said some countries were now afraid of inviting him for international meetings where some Western leaders would be present.

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Mugabe’s speech did not touch on the serious divisions in the party which saw the different factions fighting for positions during the recent provincial elections.

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For the first time in a few years, the conference did not make any resolution on the return of the Zimdollar or the banning of NGOs. Some of the resolutions were on poverty alleviation and empowerment.

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A total of 4 300 delegates attended the Chinhoyi conference.

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ZANU PF IN FINANCIAL CRISIS

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THE poor state of Zanu PF’s finances was laid bare in Chinhoyi where it emerged that the party had a huge budget deficit of nearly US$5 million for the period ending December 1 this year.

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In its Central Committee report, the party said despite a landslide victory in the July 31 elections, the party’s finances were in the red.

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The report also showed that Zanu PF received as at October 31, US$1,1 million out of the US$2,3 million the party is supposed to get from Treasury under the provision of the Political Finance Act.

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The party’s total expenditure during the period under review stood at US$9 million against a paltry US$4,4 million in incomes.

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Donations from unnamed sources emerged as the key source of revenue accounting for US$3 million of the total income.

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Despite facing problems in paying staff, the party said salaries, the national conference and harmonised elections accounted for US$6 841 397 of total costs.

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Due to the borrowings, the party incurred nearly US$1 million in bank charges and interest.

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Constitutional meetings, the report further stated accounted for US$658 049 of the total expenditure.

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The party also reported legal costs amounting to US$420 000 resulting from post harmonised elections petitions.

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“The trend of insignificant cash inflows continues due to a number of factors hinged generally on the overall poor performance of the economy,” reads the report in part.

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“As a result, our traditional sources of revenue namely subscriptions, membership fees and donations are severely affected.”

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Revenue collected from party cards and subscriptions marginally rose to US$147 000 from US$120 000 weighed down by dwindling support in Harare, Bulawayo and Matabeleland provinces. – The Standard