Live updates by Wadzanai Mhombera

1528: The conference is now taking a lunch break. We end our live updates for today. Thank you for having joined us.

1522: A church representative is now delivering a solidarity message

1507: Chief Fortune Charumbira, President of the Chief’s Council delivers a solidarity message, representing chiefs.

1501: Cde Victor Matemadanda delivers a solidarity message on behalf of war veterans.

1456: Youth League Deputy Secretary Cde Lewis Matutu delivers solidarity message

1451: Secretary for the Women’s League Cde Mabel Chinomona also gives her solidarity message.

1440: The conference is now receiving solidarity messages.

1435: National Chair says ED is the sole candidate for Zanu PF in the 2023 elections. Says those trying to divide the Zanu PF leadership are wasting their time.

1429: “2023….we start now to celebrate your victory which we are sure will come….” says Cde Chiwenga as he finishes his vote of thanks.

1425: Cde Chiwenga commended the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi, as Leader of the House in Parliament, for setting the record straight that if the opposition does not respect President Mnangagwa, then likewise there is no reason for Zanu PF to respect them.

1422: Unity means “subordinating little ambitions,” says VP Chiwenga.

1421: Says his (ED) speech pointed the direction of the national march. “It is now business, business, it is now economics, economics..,” says Cde Chiwenga.

1417: Says he has stood up to thank the President for his keynote address.

1415: VP Chiwenga now on the podium to give a vote of thanks following ED’s speech.

1411: The National Chair takes to the podium to seek the adoption of the CC report. Cde Godfrey Tsenengamu from Mash Central moves a motion for its adopt which is seconded by Cde Monica Mutsvangwa from Manicaland.

1403: The President ends by tabling the Central Committee Report (before the conference) which outlines how the party has faired in the last 12 months.

1402: Says ED: “My administration will always listen to the voice of the people because it is the voice of God.”

1357: “We must listen to what people want so that we achieve the Zimbabwe that we all want” he said. He says the new dispensation has brought servant leadership. Urges members to be servant leaders in their respective provinces… “those who elect are masters….those who are elected are servants,” said the President.

1356: This conference must deliberate on what the party achieved or failed to achieve during the last 12 months and set up a programme for the next 12 months.

1355: A number of legislative bills will be tabled during the current session to align laws with the constitution. POSA and AIPPA will be looked into to see how the 2 laws can be amended.

1352: He says Govt has committed to maintain fiscal discipline, reduce budget deficit and increasing exports across all sectors.

1347: Say Zanu PF must continue to recruit more members to vote for the party in the next elections.

1346: Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank and Empowerbank have been established to empower women and youths, said the President.

1343: President Mnangagwa denounces corruption.

1340: Reiterates that the vision is for Zimbabwe to become a middle income economy by 2030.

1335: Speaks about devolution saying each province must unite and see how they can develop their provinces using available resources. Say Zimbabwe remains a unitary state:

“As we implement devolution, let us all of us remain mindful that this republic is a unitary state…it’s a unitary state with diverse cultures, beliefs, religions but it remains united,” said Pres Mnangagwa.

1333: Spoke about installing broadcasting transmitters in all corners of the country to ensure all people access radio signals. He also urged the rolling out of telecommunications infrastructure in all provinces to ensure even those in remote areas access telecomms.

1331: President Mnangagwa said doctors must respect the sanctity of human lives, besides just focusing on their grievances. He also said recently medicines prices were hiked, even pegged in US dollars, but govt is set to open retail pharmacies so as to ensure people can purchase medicines at affordable prices.

1326: He spoke about the Gwanda solar project saying $5 million was spent just to clear the ground and a few developments, adding that he was shocked to read in the papers today that the people who spent $5 million to clear the ground must now be paid $25 million by ZPC.

1325: The Batoka Gorge Hydro Power project will add 1200 mw into the national grid.

1322: Through support from China, Kariba South Hydro Power project was commissioned adding 300mw into the national grid. There is also the Hwange unit 7 and 8 expansion project which China is supporting which is key to the industrialisation strategy.

1320: The president said dualisation of the Beitbridge road, Harare-Chirundu, among others, is underway. Urban and rural roads and bridges rehabilitation being implemented and all such projects will create jobs.

1318:In mining, the President commended artisanal miners for contributing most of the gold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries. He also spoke about lithium mining….where he conducted a ground-breaking ceremony recently in Goromonzi.

1314: Capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector is improving with new companies coming on board….others being resuscitated….employment being created – companies like Arenel, Tregers, Willowton, Cains, Davipel, Nestle, among others.

1313: “No one should starve of hunger…the country has enough strategic grain reserves… tinokwanisa kuti tese munyika tirarame tichiguta kusvika gore rinouya takohwa zve…hapana anofanira kufa nenzara,” said Pres Mnangagwa.

1312: The resuscitation of the Cold Storage Company will ensure the beef industry is revived. Urged those into livestock farming to improve their pastures to enhance beef quality.

1311: Govt is also distributing livestock under Command Livestock in Matabeleland provinces, adding that the programme will spread to other provinces later.

1309: Govt will continue to support farmers through Command Agriculture and inputs distribution is continuing.

1307: Urged farmers to plant crops that are suitable for their areas to ensure food security. Says GMB is ready to accept all the crops and is offering a good price.

1305: Say the Land Commission is currently carrying out land audits in the provinces and those with multiple farms are being asked cede them to govt and remain with one farm.

1303: Says the onus is upon the conference to come up with concrete resolutions that will revive the economy.

1302:“We need to address the issue of our own domestic currency once all the economic fundamentals have been met,” he says.

1301: “Takashamiswa tamuka tikaona mbeu 10kg yava more than $100. Takavadaidza vechikamu ichocho ku State House. Tisati tambotaura zvikanzi tadzikisa yava $45…”

1257: The conference is being held amid fuel shortages, high prices of medicines, agriculture inputs and basic commodities. Condemned the triple pricing regime…”this should stop,” he said.

1252: ED says the opposition disputed the election results and went to court and the Constitutional Court confirmed his victory. “Let us not worry about those making irritating noises…as Zanu PF we have no agenda for a GNU..” he says. The President says the focus is on rebuilding the economy, creating employment.

1249: Congratulated Zanu PF for resoundingly winning the 2018 harmonised elections. “Takarakasha…” he says. The president reiterated that they will be no GNU.

1247: He condemned the violence that occurred in Harare after elections. Says he then constituted a Commission of Inquiry into the August 1, 2018 Post-Election Violence. Says he has since received the report of the Commission and he will make it public next week.

1245: “As a party we called for unity, peace, and love during the campaigning period…”

1244: The conference is being held after the harmonised elections, saying it was a crucial election held under peaceful, democratic and transparent environment.

1243: Expressed gratitude to sister liberation movements for their continued support, particularly mentions the Communist Party of China.

1239: Says this is the first conference since the coming in of the new dispensation, and the first since Zanu PF won the 30 July harmonised elections resoundingly.

1238: Invites Cde Absolom Sikhosana to come and translate into IsiNdebele.

1236: ED says Vice President Mohadi is not feeling well and is Harare. Says if he gets better he might come later.

1230: President Mnangagwa is now taking to the podium to deliver his keynote address, but not before dancing to Jah Prayzah’s Kutonga Kwaro.

1221: VP Chiwenga introducing President Mnangagwa, how he joined the liberation struggle, his detention and resolve to fight colonialism, to the extent of having one of his ears damaged.

1212: National Chair now inviting Zanu PF Vice President and Second Secretary Retired General Constantino Chiwenga who will introduce President Mnangagwa to deliver his keynote address.

1207: Brief entertainment from Mat South traditional group.

1204: Cde Muchinguri Kashiri thanks the Zanu PF technical team from the party HQ and the Mat South LOC for ensuring that the conference is a success. She chronicled how the new dispensation was ushered in.

1158: National Chair Cde Muchinguri Kashiri says the conference is important as it is the first one since the ushering in of the new dispensation. Commends delegates for smartness, and unique fashion designs of the party regalia. Suggests coming up with awards for the best dressed male and female at the end of the conference.

1153: Podium now given to Mat South Minister of State Cde Abednico Ncube to welcome delegates to the province.

1139: Mat South chairman Cde Rabelani Choene is now invited to welcome delegates to the province. Commends government devolution thrust.

1134: Dr Mpofu invites National Chair Cde Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri to chair the proceedings of the conference.

1118: He now hands over proceedings to the Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu. He is now welcoming delegates province by province with each provincial chair leading his/her province. Starts with Bulawayo, then Harare, now Mash East, Mash West, Mash Central, Midlands, Masvingo, Mat North, Manicaland, Mat South.

1114: National Political Commissar Cde Engelbert Rugeje takes over from Cde Hungwe. He welcomes various invited guests and delegates to the conference.

1107: Deputy National Political Commissar Cde Omega Hungwe is directing proceedings. She invites Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi to offer a prayer.

1105: Time for the National Anthem

1104: President Mnangagwa is now at the conference venue and proceedings are commencing. We bring you live updates.

1103: Zanu PF First Secretary and President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa today officially opens the party’s 17th annual National People’s Conference in Esigodini, Matabeleland South province.

The conference is running under the theme, “Zimbabwe is Open for Business: Peace, Unity towards an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030”.