Running under the theme “Consolidating people’s power through Zim-Asset,” the conference will hear presentations from various portfolio committees on how the party and government can fix the economy and uplift the people’s lives.

“The conference will be about the implementation of our economic blueprint Zim-Asset, and nothing else,” party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told Xinhua.

He denied media suggestions that there would be moves to turn the annual conference into an elective gathering.

“That’s utter rubbish. Whoever is saying that, it is their own amendment, not Zanu-PF’s. The constitution is very clear on who is responsible for any amendments, and that is Congress. In the absence of Congress the Central Committee is responsible,” he said.

According to the party constitution as amended in 2014, the president is the only person elected at Congress and then goes on to appoint the top team in the Politburo, including the two vice presidents.

The party’s national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere also recently said that the conference would not deal with leadership changes but was meant to push the economic empowerment agenda.

“Our conference is coming and we are going there to discuss empowering the people,” he was quoted saying.
All the party’s 10 provinces have since endorsed Mugabe as the party’s sole candidate for the 2018 presidential election.

Mugabe, who will be turning 95 when the party’s next elective congress is due in 2019 told the last congress in 2014 that he would soldier on as long as life and will-power permitted.

He has led Zanu-PF since 1977 following the death of the then national chairman Herbert Chitepo and has been the country’s leader since independence from Britain in 1980.

He has also banned talk of succession within his party, although his advanced age and reportedly health issues have led some party hawks to position themselves for his replacement.

Zimbabwe has literally been under an economic crisis since 2000 with heavy de-industrialization taking place while most of the surviving companies are operating at below 40 percent of capacity.

The country has also been failing to attract meaningful foreign direct investment, receiving only 545 million U.S. dollars in 2014 with analysts saying much more needed to be done to attract more FDI, especially in terms of easing the way of doing business.

China has been the biggest injector of FDI in recent years, mainly through mining ventures and Mugabe and President Xi Jinping early this month witnessed in Harare the signing of mega deals covering different sectors of the Zimbabwean economy.

Official statistics say that more than 60 percent of the country’s population is poor and that about 70 percent of those who are still formally employed earn about 350 dollars per month, which is less than the breadline of 495 dollars.

Economic growth for 2015 was 1.5 percent against a projection of 3.2 percent, with the reduction attributed to poor performance in agriculture. Growth is expected to rise to 2.7 percent in 2016 with modest growth in all sectors of the economy.

The Victoria Falls conference will also be the first since the ouster of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and other top officials from the party and government last December.

The group was fired following accusations that they were plotting to remove Mugabe from his seat through unconstitutional means.

Since then, scores of other party cadres have either been suspended or expelled outright for various alleged misdemeanours, including fanning factionalism within the party and working with Mujuru’s new political outfit known as People First. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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