Chinese leader's lessons for Zanu PF

HARARE - Incoming Chinese leader Xi Jinping has some lessons for Zanu PF officials who are preparing to outdo each other in fawning praises at President Robert Mugabe at the party conference opening today.

Reports say Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping this week took aim at the wordy meetings and over-the-top welcoming ceremonies which are the bread-and-butter of the lives of senior leaders, demanding less show and fewer hangers-on for foreign trips.

Top officials rarely go anywhere without giving stultifying speeches and getting fawning welcomes from local people, complete with heavily made-up children presenting flowers and pensioners moved to tears or song.

But president-in-waiting Xi signalled he was having none of it.

Visits around the country by top leaders should no longer be met by red carpets, welcome banners or banquets, said a statement carried by state media after a meeting of the 25-member Politburo.

“Meetings must be shortened and ‘empty talk’ banned. The style of officials, particularly top officials, has an important impact upon the style of the party and the style of the government andeven on the whole of society,” the statement said.

The party, which has shown no sign of giving up its tight grip on power, has struggled to contain public anger at a seemingly endless stream of corruption scandals, particularly when officials are seen as abusing their posts to amass wealth.

Xi, who takes over as president from Hu Jintao at the annual meeting of parliament in March, warned shortly after becoming party boss that the country risked unrest if graft is not tackled.  — STAFF WRITER/REUTERS

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