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Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Election Manifesto Published

Zimbabwe's ruling party election manifesto concentrates heavily on its role in ending colonial rule 25-years ago and its policy of confiscating white-owned land for redistribution to new black farmers. The Zanu PF manifesto says that the economy is recovering and that the party's victory at the March 31 poll will ensure Zimbabwe is never a colony again.

Zanu PF's election manifesto is published in a 54-page booklet and is a mixture of history and future goals.

It has a section devoted to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying he wants regime change in Zimbabwe and created the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. It blames Mr. Blair, and to a lesser extent President Bush, for Zimbabwe's economic problems and its isolation from the western world.

The manifesto says that the land-reform program is now complete, and that many Zimbabweans have become millionaires since President Robert Mugabe launched a campaign in 2000 to evict most white farmers.

It claims that reduced annual inflation from more than 600 percent a year ago to 132 percent is a clear indication that the economy is turning around. Interest rates are falling, and the value of the Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies has stabilized, according to Zanu PF.

Zanu PF appointed a woman as vice president in December, and the manifesto says that it is going to promote many more women into top positions. It has a record number of women standing for 120 seats in parliament. The ruling party says it has revitalized and reformed its internal structures.

Zanu PF says its program will primarily be to fight poverty and improve living standards. It says this will be achieved by improved agricultural production, increased levels of manufacturing, and encouraging establishment of more small to medium enterprises.

It focuses attention on new electoral laws which went through parliament in December.

As a result of the new laws three judges were appointed to head up Zimbabwe's first ever electoral court to adjudicate disputes arising out of the campaign and on voting day.

The manifesto was written by former information minister Jonathan Moyo who was expelled from Zanu PF on Saturday because he is standing as an independent candidate in the election.

Zanu PF faced its first serious political challenge when the MDC fought its first election in 2000 and won nearly half the seats.

Mr. Mugabe says Zanu PF is set to retake the lost seats, and has pledged the party will win a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to change the constitution.