president mugabe bulawayo conference 08-12-11 big.jpgZanu PF’s First Secretary and President, Cde Robert Mugabe says his party will not retreat in its endeavour to empower the people of Zimbabwe.

Officially opening the party’s 12th Annual National People’s Conference at the ZITF grounds in Bulawayo this Thursday evening, President Mugabe said the liberation struggle was meant to liberate the people of this country, and now that Zimbabwe has political independence, it is high time that the people of Zimbabwe fight for economic liberation through embracing the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy.

“It is not only land that we want but also control over our mineral resources. Now that we have taken the land, we are also advancing into mining and manufacturing sectors which are dominated by multi-national companies like Rio Tinto and LONRHO, among others,” said Cde Mugabe, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

President Mugabe said these foreign companies have for long been exploiting the country’s resources at will and only paying insignificant amounts of tax and royalties to the country.

“These companies were doing what they wanted, exercising ownership over us. So it is high time these companies should stop this and hand over that ownership to us by complying with the indigenisation law which calls for 51% ownership of companies by Zimbabweans,” the President said.

He added that even in the face of hostilities against the nation by western powers, Zimbabwe will not go back on this noble cause, which shall also be complimented by educational empowerment.

“Sanctions or no sanctions, the diamonds are ours,” he said.

President Mugabe also told over 6 000 delegates at the conference to be wary of western countries’ tactics to recolonise Africa and its resources.

He said Africa must learn from the Libyan experience where the west, led by Britain, France, Italy and the United States of America, invaded the North African country and shed blood in that country under the rubric of protecting civilians who were allegedly being brutalised by what they deemed to be an ‘autocratic Gaddafi regime.’

The President said the Libyan invasion and the subsequent brutal killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his family was the only way these countries would have a say on the North African country’s oil resources.

“Well before the war in Libya, Britain and France were already positioning themselves to exploit the Libyan oil, reminding us of what they did during the [1884] Berlin Conference that saw the partitioning of Africa. The Libyan issue clearly shows that other countries which have resources like our own, which has diamonds, are on target,” said Cde Mugabe.

Also in his speech, President Mugabe said the conference has come at a time when the country is preparing for elections, which he said should be held next year.

He said it is worrying that there are some in the inclusive government who no longer want to alight from this ‘chariot’ despite the expiry of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), but warned that it is now time for elections.

“The GPA is not a legitimate or democratic entity because some people in the inclusive government were completely rejected by the electorate in the 2008 elections. So we cannot allow this to continue and we are saying it is time we go for elections next year,” Cde Mugabe said.

The President concluded by expressing confidence that his party’s ‘progressive ideas’ and ‘better policies’ are the only tools that will make Zanu PF win the elections.