Mugabe opens heart to warring party faithful

In his opening remarks to the 79th session of the Central Committee at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday, Zanu-PF’s First Secretary and President said their organisation’s foundation was unity.

"I would like to thank members for the unity maintained during this period. We have been together around the same principles that united and enabled us to acquire our land.

"These are the principles that yielded that unity. We need to cherish this unity.

"When we hear of factionalism continuing in some provinces, one wonders if the principles sunk not only in our minds, but also in our hearts," he said.

President Mugabe blasted party leaders more concerned about their personal positions than the collective interest.

"What is lost is the focus of the struggle. It is no longer a fight against the enemy, the opposition and neo-colonialism.

"Instead of organising against the opposition, we are sweating for support, not for the party but for oneself," he said.

On factionalism in Harare Province, he said: "Despite the fact that we have a new executive elected recently, the struggle will continue as they fight for future victories.

"Why not get together and know that this is about Zanu-PF being one?

"The people do not belong to anyone. You are not Mugabe or Mai Mujuru or Nkomo members, but members of the party, a people’s party.

"Youths have been used to support individuals. This is not Zanu-PF. There are hooligans in the party.

"We have an enemy to fight, an enemy with a great force behind it, with the support of the British."

President Mugabe reiterated that MDC was created by Britain in an attempt to destroy Zanu-PF.

"Fortunately, we are still alive because the people of Zimbabwe have refused to let go, especially on the matter of ownership of the land and natural resources which belong to us," he said.

President Mugabe said the outgoing Central Committee members should accept that they reigned over a period when the party performed badly in elections.

He said members should, during the congress, reflect on the positive and negative side of the period whether politically, economically or socially.

"We should be able to say we are the Central Committee which organised elections last year and yielded this Government.

"We are the Central Committee that campaigned during the elections.

"We should be able to admit that the election produced a result that left a huge dent on the party.

"We are responsible for the poor performance in the election last year," he said.

The President said Zanu-PF, however, managed to salvage the Presidency through the June 2008 run-off.

"However, as we recognise our failure and moan over the loss, there is need to reconstruct the party and prepare for possible future elections."

He said there was need to rebuild the party on the values and principles of the revolution.

"These sacred principles should be people-oriented and come up with policies that protect the yields of armed struggle and they remain in the hands of the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

President Mugabe hailed the emergence of a new crop of leaders within the Women’s and Youth leagues.

"The provinces went to work in a vigorous and constructive manner.

"Now there are organs and wings that remain viable.

"We saw their vibrancy in the separate conferences they held prior to this congress.

"We hope that we will still find Zanu-PF alive in the future.

"The spirit and history of Chimurenga is alive, even in the years to come and so is the basic principle that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.

"It is this foundation, a firm foundation that is harder than stone, a foundation built on the blood lost during the struggle.

"If the party was not built on that foundation, we would have just been some other organisation.

"Those who sacrificed their lives, properties, and were driven into ‘keeps’ in support of the fighters will stand on that firm and solid foundation," he said.

President Mugabe said Zanu-PF would continue to resist neo-colonialism.

"We are what we are because of the sacrifices made by other people.

"Let us see that our children know this history and be proud that their forefathers fought against imperialism."

Yesterday’s Central Committee meeting was the last for members elected into the organ at the 2004 congress.