Members of the National Standing Committee
Members of the National Executive and Council
Representatives of the Trade Unions and Civil Society
Members of the Diplomatic Corp,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Delegates, Comrades and Friends,
We meet here today after a very successful Congress climaxed with the election of our leadership. Indeed, this 3rd National Congress has been a resounding success whose results have already reverberated throughout the country. The visit and address by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, Mr. Raila Odinga, was also a major highlight at this Congress. I would like to thank him, in absentia, for gracing our Congress.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank all of you for taking time of your busy schedules to come and participate in the re-organisation of our party of excellence. What we have done in the last few days is to lay the foundation on our structure towards our preparations for governing this country. I would like to thank the secretariat, our organisers, and suppliers of food, accommodation and other resources.
Let me make special mention of our host province, Bulawayo, for their co-operation and commitment towards the successful hosting of this Congress. We will always cherish your hospitality. This congress has shown that we are truly the Movement for Democratic Change.
We have witnessed over the past few days positive examples of both democracy and change being exhibited at this Congress. I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to those comrades who may not have won their election, and to those who are relinquishing their posts, I wish on behalf of the grateful party to thank your sacrifice, leadership and commitment over the past five years.
Your respect for the democratic process is an example that if followed by more Zimbabweans can only lead to a better future in the new Zimbabwe. My fervent wish is that you will continue to work with us and the people of Zimbabwe to bring real positive change to our nation.
To those of you who have been re-elected or those who have been elected to new positions of leadership, I congratulate you, but you now have enormous responsibility on your shoulders. The work ahead is heavy and you will need the support of others to carry it forward. Together we must lead our party in the next and crucial stage of our development and our nation’s history.
Delegates, Comrades and Friends, we have shown that as a party we are not afraid of change. We have shown that any organisation must be willing to make the difficult decision and adapt to changing circumstances in order to be the best that we can be.
As we go forward from here, we must re-commit ourselves to the struggle. We must be prepared to make the sacrifices, to display courage and resilience in the face of any challenges that may confront us in the years ahead. We must lead by example to show that we are Together, United, Winning, Ready for Real Change.
I wish to thank you all once again for the confidence that you have shown in my leadership and in my ability to take the MDC from a partner in this coalition government to becoming the governing party after the next election. I am ready to lead you and the people of Zimbabwe through the challenges that lie ahead and into a better future and a new Zimbabwe that we all demand and deserve.
Delegates, Comrades and Friends, I am under no illusion that the task that you have placed on me and my team will be easy. But the vision that I have for this party and for Zimbabwe is great and will guide us to glory. I have the vision, commitment and strength to play my part in the struggle but I will need your support if we are to make the dream of a new Zimbabwe come through.
That vision is to create a US$100 billion economy in the next 30 years. Only an MDC government, which I am proud to lead, has the capacity to redeem this economy from total demise. It is only an MDC government that has capacity and support to grow this economy by about 10 percent every year. If we grow the economy by that margin every year, we will be creating jobs for our young people in the process.
That level of growth will attract investors, both local and foreign, to our country. We will begin to see investment in mining, infrastructure development, agriculture, health, education, in the hospitality industry and all other sectors. I have a vision to create a society where the rule of law is paramount, a society where property rights are respected, a society where people enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of association and other rights guaranteed in our Constitution.
At that time shall every Zimbabwean enjoy their basic rights and at the same time have disposable income. This is the vision that this new leadership and myself shall guide us as we lead this party of excellence. To achieve this, we must deal with issues of a clear roadmap towards the next election. The elections are critical in that they will, without doubt, usher an MDC government into power, for we have the support of the people.
As the party of excellence, we pin our hopes on you the people of Zimbabwe to safeguard the process towards a free and fair election. Our brothers in SADC have been supportive of our endeavour towards democratising Zimbabwe. We hope SADC and the AU will continue to support our efforts to reject attempts to manipulate the will of the people and remain resolute in their approach in dealing with the Zimbabwe issue.
This new leadership that you have assigned me to lead will be vigilant and yet tactical in safeguarding your interests because you are the critical natural stakeholders to the new Zimbabwe. We will also deal decisively with all forms of violence and indiscipline so that we make our push towards governing this party in unity of purpose.
Together we can deliver real change. Together we can deliver peace, prosperity and security to the people of this great nation. Now is the time for action. Let us move forward as one for we have the support of the people and nothing stronger than a nation united for change.
The will of the people shall prevail.
I thank you.