Zimbabwean President and Zanu (PF) leader President Robert Mugabe says women are the backbone of the party and developmental programmes in in the country.
Officially opening the Zanu PF Women’s League conference at the Harare International Conference Centre, President Mugabe said women have always stood by the party through good and difficult times.
He acknowledged the support women continue to give to him and to Zanu PF.
“The women are the backbone. They have always been the backbone of the party. Without your support I am nobody. It is only when I have your support that I can say Zimbabwe will never be a colony again,” he said.
He said the black government, after independence, introduced deliberate measures to uplift the lives of women who had been down-trodden for many years.
“That is why some of us when independence came we decided we must respect women in terms of their status and regard them as equal to men. We passed laws; we changed the system we found in that it descriminated against women and we amended the laws in regard to the salaries of women.
“And because we saw how tough women were during the war, in the new government we changed the status quo – in respect to work positions, remuneration etc, that is why we changed the laws.
He said today fathers are sending boys and girls to school on equal terms because there is no difference between the boy child and the girl child.
He added, “And I am glad that our system has now produced so many educated women. We still have to do more of course. And we are glad there are so many holding senior positions, not only in the public service, but also in the private sector.
“And we would want to see our women being given the necessary freedom to play their part in the community – whether in the public sector or the private sector – and we are sure that once the women are given something to do, in the majority of cases they are likely to perform better than men.”
President Mugabe said the December Congress will see all Central Committee and Politburo members relinquish their positions to pave way for fresh elections.
“At the December Congress, all of us must resign so that new people are elected. The Politburo and the Central Committee – we must all resign.
He castigated leaders who are engaged in vote-buying to influence the outcome of the congress.
“Some are already campaigning vigorously, dishing out loads of money and so they would want to see the Youth League, the Women’s League, producing people whom they think support them and will at Congress then combine in electing them.
“So it’s up to you – be vigilant. If you want to be used go ahead and accept their bribes. We want people to be free to elect whoever they want to represent them,” he said.
He said people have grouped themselves alongside faction lines, but those who aspire to be elected should be servants of the people whose focus is on implementing government policies on the ground.
“It [Zanu PF] is the only party that has given people power, ownership of resources, health, education… Zanu PF forever.”
The President and First Secretary of Zanu PF also said everyone must fight to serve the people against the enemies of hunger, poverty and social injustices. He said positions will be a reward to those who would have fought for the people.
“It is the only party that has given people power, ownership of resources, health, education… Zanu PF forever.”
He castigated immorality and lack of self discipline among leaders.
“At the end of the day, good leadership is disciplined leadership. Do you respect the freedom of others and refrain from interfering with them? Are you yourself sufficiently disciplined in terms of how you conduct yourself? Or are you morally weak, sexually weak? You take this woman as your wife, you take that one… Are you honest? Truthful? Deceitful? Do you take sides? You can never be a leader. Even I will not vote for you!”
President Mugabe challenged party leaders to be servants of the people.
“You are a leaders because of the party, which gives you the image you portray. We as leaders get our mandate from the people. We should remember that we were not born with our positions,but we got them from the people. I became a Zanu PF President because of the party members who voted me. I am mandated by that vote to listen to the people and to address their needs. That is what we should all do as leaders of the people.”
The two day elective conference is being attended by more than 4000 delegates from the country’s provinces.