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Zanu-PF faced with mammoth task

by Staff reporter
07 Jun 2023 at 06:08hrs | Views
THERE is a unique connection between Gweru and Zanu-PF that must be cherished by the young generation who are not yet privy to the liberation struggle, the country's independence, and economic emancipation, analysts said yesterday.

The ruling party is holding a five-day orientation and induction workshop for its aspiring candidates at the Zanu-PF Convention Centre in Gweru as it gears for the harmonised elections slated for August 23.

The workshop was officially opened by the party's First Secretary President Mnangagwa on Monday.

The workshop spearheaded by the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology is being attended by the 210 Zanu-PF aspiring candidates in the forthcoming general elections.

The ruling party held its first Zanu congress in 1964 in the then Gwelo at Mtapa Hall in Mtapa suburb.

The 1964 congress was Zanu's first after its formation in August 1963 and was confronted with the unenviable task of waging an armed struggle.

This time around, Zanu-PF is faced with the mammoth task of consolidating power and pushing for socio-economic development in line with Vision 2030 leaving no one and no place behind.

Just as the People's Congress of 1964 took decisive action to wage an armed struggle and regain lost land and political independence, the induction workshop is setting the tone for a new era of economic development.

Political analyst and researcher Mr Gibson Nyikadzino said the return to Gweru is a symbolic gesture that projects the city as a repository of courage and consistency against colonialism and neo-colonialism in the shape and character of the opposition funded by foreign governments in the case of the latter.

"So from Gweru, the national ideology and mobilisation is meant to draw inspiration to defend the liberation gains, the post-independent developments and in essence serve as a historical consultation on the legacy of the party and what it stands for. If you recall from 1964, the liberation struggle was launched two years later against the settler regime leading to its decision to fold.

So those nationalist values of 1964 are still relevant and should ooze ahead of the 23 August elections," he said.

Mr Nyikadzino said the youths of today need to think of a country that was under the bondage of colonisers before the 1964 Zanu congress which saw the leaders agreeing to take up arms against colonial rule.

"The youths or the young people should think of Zimbabwe in detailed form, but in pragmatic oriented ways to ensure they work for the total economic development of Zimbabwe as their forebears worked towards its political independence.

From this, the youth also need to appreciate that the symbolism of this gathering reflects on what being independent means, it means working hard. So, on all fronts, youths need to participate under the guidance of the elders to defend the values of the liberation, which are enshrined in the Constitution," he said.

Another analyst Mr Augustine Tirivangani said there was indeed a connection between the ruling party and Gweru.

"You are correct to derive symbolic and historical parallels between these two instructive workshops. Common between them are the critical elements of decisiveness and sacrifice. Yes, in 1964 the decision to go to war to take back the land; and conceived in this context, the 2023 workshop is equally decisive to consolidate the gains of the 1964 initiative," he said.

The writing, Mr Tirivangani said, is clear in the motto set in motion by President Mnangagwa: "Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, igotongwa nevene vayo, igonamatirwa nevene vayo. (Zimbabwe must be developed, governed and prayed for by Zimbabweans)"

"This is an instructive reminder invoking the sacrifice required to build, govern and commit the country to the highest spiritual realm leaving no room for compromise of any kind," he said.

Asked how the new blood in the party and the youths, in general, can tap from these historic and symbolic parallels, Mr Tirivangani said, "They have to take the advice strongly with a sense of urgency, chitsvambe chikuru (They have a big responsibility).

It is an opportunity to dare the challenge and take the sacrifice forward, jealously guarding their heritage. What an opportunity for them to carve their own heroic niches for posterity."

Zanu-PF national commissar Mike Bimha on Monday said President Mnangagwa in his opening speech highlighted the importance of Gweru in the history of the party.

"It is important to note the fact that President Mnangagwa is the only one of the leaders who attended that congress and is the only one left. That in itself being historical makes people look back and say that Zanu-PF is not just something that came up yesterday, it's a party with a history, a party that started long back and culminated into what we are having today.

The whole issue of man and woman who went to fight for our independence and that should also be something that carries on even today," he said.

Just like in 1964, there is a sense of destination in sight, of people completing a part of a phase of their journey.

Fifty-nine years ago from May 23 to 25 1964, Zanu founding members embarked on a journey into the future, a journey to Gwelo to lay the rubrics of a new Zimbabwe.

It was a journey they took on fearlessly because they knew they were the architects of their own future.

The reality was that freedom was not going to be handed to the people on a silver platter.

Boycotts and strikes by blacks in the then Rhodesia had failed to bring about the desired change.

The strikes were brutally suppressed, leading to deaths and the arrest of blacks.

It was at the Gwelo congress that Zanu took the decision to engage Ian Smith in an armed confrontation.

On April 14, 2020, President Mnangagwa went down memory lane passing through Mtapa Hall.

Speaking after touring Gweru to assess compliance with the Government's lockdown directive, the President said over 50 years had passed following the first Zanu congress, but he still vividly remembers the event.

Ndabaningi Sithole was elected president and the former President Robert Mugabe secretary-general.

Zanu was subsequently banned in the same year.

"The thought of the events which transpired on May 24, 1964 feels like it's just yesterday, but it has been many years. It has been over 50 years. We first went to Mambo and we passed through Mtapa and we saw the Monomotapa Hall (popularly known as Mtapa Hall).

"On May 24, 1964, we had just arrived from training in China and we were able to slip in to attend the first congress of Zanu at that hall," recalled President Mnangagwa.

"I remember that this is where Ndabaningi Sithole was elected president, Leopold Takawira vice president, Herbert Chitepo national chairperson, Mugabe secretary-general and Morris Nyagumbo national organising secretary, deputised by Simon Muzenda.

"Enos Nkala was elected treasurer, Simpson Mtambanengwe secretary for international relations, I think deputised by Trynos Makombe and so on and so on."

"Yes, I am feeling a lot of nostalgia, but now it's history that I have to go back to again. It's a lot of years, over 50 years since we were here in Gweru and I can still remember events as they unfolded.

At that time, it was Rhodesia and we were busy planning how to remove Ian Smith's government and those were the initial stages of our armed struggle when we were recruiting young people for military training," he said.

Source - The Chronicle
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