President Mugabe says the ZANU PF 12th National People’s Conference slated for Bulawayo in December is the party’s last crucial meeting before national elections.

Speaking to journalists on arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday from a visit to the Far East, the President said the conference was just as good as the party’s national congress.

“Yes, we are organising for the conference. It is a very important conference as we organise towards national elections. After that conference we will not have another conference before elections so it is an important conference -just as good as a congress.”

At congress, the party either elects new members of the Presidium and Politburo or endorses the current leadership.

Last year ZANU PF endorsed President Mugabe as the party’s candidate for national elections that were supposed to be held this year.

At the Bulawayo conference, sources said, ZANU PF is highly likely to endorse President Mugabe’s candidature for next year’s national elections.

President Mugabe, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he also had an opportunity to see her daughter Bona who is studying in Hong Kong during his visit to the Far East.

Asked about how he felt during the two days that he has been away President Mugabe who was I jovial mood said:

“I go away for two days, resting seeing my daughter two days and you think I have been nostalgic about having left home. East, West, home, home, home is best.”

The ZANU PF conference which is expected to be attended by 6 000 delegates is going to be held from December 6 to 10.

ZANU PF secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo yesterday said preparations for Bulawayo watershed conference were on course.

The party had come up with a conference co-ordinating committee to deal with conference preparations.

“Preparations for the conference are now at an advanced stage and we are meeting every month to discuss issues to do with the conference.

“We met last Thursday as the conference co-ordinating committee chaired by the national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo,” he said.

Cde Gumbo said the party’s information sub-committee would agree on the theme of the conference in two weeks time.

The theme, he said, would be forwarded to the conference co-ordinating committee that would in turn submit it to the Politburo for consideration or approval.

“We also discussed on logistical issues like accommodation, transport, entertainment and health.”

Cde Gumbo said they were all out to make the conference a resounding success and said liberation movements from the region were expected to attend.

Early this month, ZANU PF trained its members drawn from all the country’s provinces on protocol as part of the conference preparations. Last year the party ZANU PF successfully held its 11th National People’s Congress in Mutare.

The conference resolved to forge ahead with the indigenisation programme meant to correct historical injustices caused by colonialism.

Government has since gazetted regulations on empowerment and companies have been submitting plans on how they intend to comply with the regulations that requires that 51 percent shareholding in companies with a minimum capitalisation of US$500000 be controlled by locals.