ZANU PF is gearing up for its 17th annual National People’s Conference with the Politburo meeting today at its party headquarters in Harare.
The conference, which is running under the theme: “Zimbabwe Is Open for Business: Peace, Unity towards an Upper Middle-Income Economy By 2030” is expected to draw about 5 000 delegates from the country’s 10 provinces and runs until December 16.
Inside sources revealed to the Mail and Telegraph that this year’s conference, the first for the Second Republic, is expected to largely focus on the economy, which is a shift from previous years that focused on retention of power by former President Robert Mugabe.
Vice – President Kembo Mohadi also stated that the economy would be the conference’s primary focus.
“The focus of this government is on turning around the economy hence the thrust of this conference is on economic development.
“We agreed that there should be devolution, which means that provinces are going to have their own budgets and therefore the conference is going to emphasise on that,” he said.
According to the ruling party’s constitution, the people’s conference is composed of members of the Central Committee; the National Consultative Assembly; the National Council of the Women’s League, National Council of the Youth League; the Provincial Coordinating Committees and provincial councils.
One of the functions of the conference is to declare the president of the party elected at congress as the state presidential candidate of the party.
Mnangagwa will unlikely be concerned about internal party issues, as just four months after the 2018 harmonised elections, he has already been endorsed as the party’s sole candidate for the 2023 presidential poll by the Zanu-PF Women’s League, the Youth League and the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
However, Mnangagwa was recently dealt a major setback when the United States announced it would not be engaging with Zimbabwe as a development partner with sanctions remaining, despite his efforts to re-engage with the international community under the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business.”
Last week, the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee on African affairs said it welcomed the change in rhetoric from the Mugabe era but Mnangagwa’s administration still required “profound political and economic reforms to sustainably change.”
Currently, Zimbabwe is facing a number of economic challenges stemming from a shortage of foreign currency that has led to increased prices of basic commodities and shortages in fuel.
For ordinary citizens recent austerity measures imposed by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube have only exacerbated the situation.
Ncube seeks to address the country’s economic fundamentals, such as the budget deficit through increased taxation as announced in his 2019 budget themed “Austerity for prosperity.”