Let’s break from the past: Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on his Zanu PF compatriots to brace for a break from the past, including human rights abuses and electoral chicanery.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Addressing the Zanu PF central committee meeting in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said Zanu PF must present a “new face” to the people.

“Let the people see a new face of our party through our good deeds, language and positive energy as we inspire them towards a better tomorrow, towards the Zimbabwe they want. In the new Zimbabwe everyone is free to campaign, to speak their mind and to express themselves, however they choose.

“We must never be distracted from striving towards the ultimate goal, putting our economy back on its feet, bringing jobs to the masses and food on the plates of every Zimbabwean. Meanwhile we should never turn a blind eye to serious violations of people’s rights and interests,” Mnangagwa told cheering party leaders.

During former President Robert Mugabe’s era, Zanu PF was known for flagrantly abusing people’s rights and cheating its way to victory.

“Let us as a leadership of the party commit to work for the satisfaction of the people and correct any of our practices that they are not happy about,” the Zanu PF leader said.

Mnangagwa said he had watched in horror the use of underhand methods by senior party leaders during the Zanu PF primary elections in April, adding this should never repeat itself.

“With regards to the recently held primary elections and our internal democratic process we were exposed to gross shortcomings within our party systems, cadre orientation and grounding. The primary election process, therefore, brought to the fore conduct which is alien to the character and personality of our revolutionary party.

“This includes alleged vote buying, outright manipulation of party procedures, rules and regulations and disregard to the letter and spirit of the constitution of our party. We noted with concern the unbridled ambition demonstrated by some cadres of the party who were prepared to win no matter the costs,” he said.

The opposition has cried foul in every election since the first all-race polls in 1980 that brought majority rule accus8ing the former liberation movement of electoral chicanery, violence and rigging with the 2013 plebiscite the latest in a litany of disputed polls under Mugabe’s watch.

But Mnangagwa promised a break from a past that he admitted Zanu PF cannot just wish it away.

“Ours is a revolutionary party things go according to the rules. We also recognise the need to modernise our party systems in general. While we cannot change the past we must indeed learn from,” he said.

To this end Mnangagwa said he had received a recommendation from the women’s league to create a permanent party administrative structure made up of the secretary for administration, commissar and secretary for finance from all party wings.