Delegates arrive for indaba, Over 3 000 delegates expected at Zanu-PF Conference in Gweru

DELEGATES were still trooping into Gweru last night ahead of the official opening of the Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference by President Mnangagwa in the city today.

The usually sleepy Midlands capital was a hive of activity from yesterday morning as revolutionary party delegates from all the 10 provinces arrived and sought accommodation as others rushed to be accredited on time.

The conference began with the Politburo and Central Committee meetings in Harare on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, and today President Mnangagwa, who is also the party’s President and First Secretary, will deliver the official opening address.

About 3 000 delegates are expected to attend the crux gathering that is being held at the Midlands Zanu-PF Convention Centre, some 13km east of Gweru along Mvuma Road. Briefing journalists last night, Zanu-PF National Political Commissar, Dr Mike Bimha said it was all systems go as he commended the national co-ordination committee chaired by the national party chairperson, Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, and the local organising committee, led by the provincial chairman, Cde Larry Mavima. 

“The two committees held three meetings so that they could look at the progress made and I am happy that so far we are good to go,” said Dr Bimha.

“The sitting arrangements have been finalised, accommodation has been organised and people are still coming from various provinces. 

“We believe most of what needs to be done has been done and it’s the finishing touches to make sure that we have the WiFi and the little things that need to be fine-tuned so that we have a very successful conference.”

Zanu-PF party supporters queue for accreditation at the party offices ahead of the 20th National People’s Conference in Gweru today.

Dr Bimha said the conference will take its traditional form with President Mnangagwa delivering the keynote speech.

“After that, we will have presentations, first will be the state of the party then presentations from Government ministers from various areas in terms of the strides that have been made on the economic front,” he said. 

“We will also have presentations to deal with the youth league, women’s league, war veterans league, and other various presentations,” said Dr Bimha.

There will also be plenary segments based on the presentations made to give input to the various committees, which will have breakaway sessions. 

“The following day we will have the reports from those committees, which will look at the feedback from the plenary sessions,” said Dr Bimha.

“These committees, which are looking at various things will help us as a party to move on as they will give us feedback of what needs to be done on the shortfalls we have.”

Major hotels and lodges in Gweru, Kwekwe and Shurugwi were fully booked by yesterday with some delegates seeking accommodation as far as Zvishavane and Bulawayo while enterprising residents have turned their houses into lodges to cater for those who failed to secure accommodation.

Running under the theme: “Towards Vision 2030 Through Devolution, Industrialisation and Modernisation”, this year’s conference is expected to reflect on key aspects such as the party’s achievements, the state of the party, the economy, food security and nutrition, social services, and poverty eradication. 

It will also deliberate on macro-economic stability and re-engagement, infrastructure development and utilities, as well as value addition and beneficiation.

Conference delegates will also take stock of the party’s performance in the just-ended elections, which Zanu-PF won after defeating all opposition parties.

The national people’s conference is hosted by provinces on a rotational basis and presents a chance for reflection on party electoral promises, as well as reaffirmation of the country’s vision. 

The venue for the 20th Zanu-Pf National People’s Conference in Gweru

Cde Mavima, said all was set for the successful hosting of the conference and that the main hall of the conference centre and other buildings were ready.

“This is the main hall of the conference centre, which we built in 2012 but we have completely refurbished the hall and also the other ancillary buildings associated with the conference centre,” he said. 

“This place can house 6 500 delegates but we are not expecting that many. We are expecting slightly over 3 000 delegates and they will be able to fit in here comfortably.”

Cde Mavima said the provincial conference committee made all preparations on time, adding that the province was ready to host a memorable conference.

“We have made all preparations and at this point in time we are at 99,73 percent complete, which means that we are ready to go,” he said. 

“If His Excellency were to land right now, we would get started. There has been a lot of hard work and dedication from all sorts of people from the business community, the private sector, party members, and ordinary citizens. “People are just happy and excited about Zanu-PF and about the conference that is taking place.”

Cde Mavima said the conference is coming after President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF defeated the Western-sponsored opposition parties in the August 23 election.

“So, we are happy and this is our Christmas party so to say and we can’t wait to get started,” he said.

Cde Mavima said the province has managed to secure accommodation for delegates at the Midlands State University (MSU), as well as Mkoba Teachers’ College. Some of the delegates will be housed in local hotels while some accommodation has been secured in Kwekwe and Zvishavane.

The conference will see a business expo running concurrently with the main events and high-level exhibitors such as Cottco, NetOne, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara), and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), had already set up their stands and expect good business engagements.

Midlands Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) representative, Mr Elphas Munyimi, confirmed that accommodation in Gweru and Kwekwe had run out.

“It’s very true that the Zanu-PF National People’s Conference has brought about huge business in the Midlands province. The hotels, lodges and some houses have since been booked in Kwekwe, Gweru, Shurugwi and Zvishavane,” he said. 

“Some have failed to secure accommodation in Gweru and Kwekwe, and are forced to stay in Bulawayo.”

Mr Munyimi said Gweru and Kwekwe have lodges and hotels with 350 and 300 rooms respectively.

“I think there is a need to invest in more rooms in the Midlands province so that we grow the tourism industry,” he said.

The construction of the giant Zanu-PF Convention Centre was influenced by the then Defence Minister and now President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa in preparation for the Zanu-PF 2012 Conference.

The project was built in a record time of three months at a cost of US$2 million. Most of the structures at the site are circular in shape taking after the Great Enclosure of Great Zimbabwe, with bricks at the centre replicating the granite stones of the historical site, making it a big tourist attraction. The facility can also be used for wedding receptions, seminars, exhibitions, entertainment shows, and other events. 


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