During my Keynote Address, I said that the era of factionalism is behind us and indeed many echo this call. However, we will be judged by our actions, not words. For all our commitments to unity, if one party cadre turns on another, if cadres begin demonstrating or speaking out against one other; if cadres try to take revenge on those who in the past were affiliated with different groupings; then all our words will have been in vain.
We cannot be hostages of past grievances; bygones must be bygones!. As I pledged earlier, l will be the leader of all Party members irrespective of one’s stance or standing in times past. I equally expect the same from all Party members. That is the nature of our Party, it is for everyone. It does not fit in anyone’s pocket!
Let us turn over a new leaf and renew ourselves. There will be those who look for opportunities to claim that nothing has changed. We must lead by example. Each one of our members must conduct him or herself in a way that embodies the spirit and values of this great revolutionary Party.
The Party itself must also set an exemplary example of the kind of new course we are on as a nation. In the recent past, the Party and its prominent members have at times demonstrated extravagance and wastefulness not befitting a revolutionary, liberation movement. No more. In this new era, we will once again be a frugal, humble institution whose every fibre is dedicated to the wellbeing of the Zimbabwean people. The decision to cut the length and budget of this Congress was taken within this spirit, and as a clear signal of our intentions.
We have a crucial year ahead of us, with two main goals. We must again win the support and trust of the Zimbabwean people in the 2018 Harmonised General elections, so that they elect us to lead them for another five years. And we must resurrect the economy, delivering real gains for each and every citizen of this great nation.
These two tasks are interconnected. We will only win at the ballot box if we can show signs that we are reviving our economy; and at the same time, we will only be able to make real economic gains if we can secure re-election. Therefore, I see these two domains, the political and the economic, as equally significant for our future. Hence the Party must be about politics and economics!
On the political front, we must all acknowledge that we inhabit a rapidly changing world, and our success will be dependent on how well we adapt. Almost half of all Zimbabweans were born in this millennia, and over three quarters have been born since independence. These young people have different expectations, and their skill set and technological knowhow is completely different to those born even a decade before.
They also have different experiences. The frame of reference for this generation are the economic struggles of the past decade, we must also listen to them. We must hear their hopes and fears. Our youths want to know how we will create jobs and opportunities for them. We must provide them with answers, rooted in the future.
Continued next page