Zanu PF secretary for youth Absalom Sikhosana has for the first time revealed that divisions within its rank and file over funds donated by well-wishers were threatening the survival of the party.
The funds were meant to support the party’s activities but jostling to grab them for self-gain was threatening the very existence of the former ruling party.
Zanu PF, Sikhosana said, was now suffering from donor fatigue arising from persistent pleas for funding as donors were now reluctant to continually dole out resources to sustain the party.
Addressing party district executives at Stanley Square in Makokoba yesterday, Sikhosana said the party was in financial dire straits that has seen it depending solely on handouts from well-wishers.
“I want to admit, together with the leadership of the party here (in Bulawayo), that we made a big blunder as Zanu PF. Thirty years after independence, we have no factory or company that is said to belong to us as a party,” he said.
“Our business has been to extend begging bowls to the rich and affluent in Bulawayo. We have also become notorious for asking for donations.
“That is why you see businesspeople have shunned us as a party because they cannot cope with the requests and appeals for financial assistance every now and then,” Sikhosana said.
Sikhosana said business executives were now tired of being asked to fund even the “silliest” of requests.
“We have a problem, comrades,” he said.
“The biggest problem is that even if a businessman comes to the party and pledges to assist with money, he is approached after the meeting with some of the silliest requests.
“Someone goes to the extent of even asking for bus fare from the donor. Someone asks for money for diesel, while someone asks for this and that. All these are things that have chased donors and well-wishers from the party,” Sikhosana added.
The Zanu PF youth secretary said the party was currently faced with a dilemma as it prepares for its annual conference in December.
He said the party leadership expected party members to fund the expenses for the conference. However, party members, he said, could not single-handedly fund the entirety of the budget without seeking well-wishers’ assistance.
“As it stands, comrades, we are faced with a situation where we have to prepare for a conference in December. We will start to beg for funds because we cannot carry the budget on our own. We will go back to the same people that have been assisting us and they end up being tired. That is why they are shunning us as a party,” said Sikhosana.
He also revealed that there was a crisis among party members who believed some of their leaders were misappropriating the proceeds raised from donors.
“In the process of begging, we end up getting confused. Even when we do not get anything, we suspect each other as party members. Some suspect that we would have been given funding and diverted it to our personal use. That in itself creates conflict and we end up fighting over those funds,” he said.
Sikhosana also said there had been attempts by some of Zanu PF donors to control the party’s activities and outcomes of processes.
“When people give us money, they end up trying to control the party. We have no option but to go to them. All we need to do is to safeguard the party from such people,” Sikhosana added.
A slip of the tongue saw Sikhosana nearly drawing the ire of the district executives after he referred to Zanu PF as Zapu.
“Our aim is to rule this country until the donkeys develop horns or Jesus comes. Our moral uprightness is very important. Let us be a different group.
“Let them know that Zapu leadership is made up of men and women who are respected,” he said, but he quickly corrected himself.