Can Zanu PF change?

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The Zanu PF conference start in earnest in Mutare today with President Robert Mugabe expected to officially open the event.

The party had announced the conference would start on Wednesday but not much took place on the day and on Thursday when leaders started to arrive for the event.

As of Thursday construction was still taking place at Mary Mount Teachers College, the venue of the event.

In one section of the venue, workers were on Wednesday still putting up a security fence while others were laying paving blocks.

Party officials were Thursday still running around frantically trying to ready the venue for the big event before the arrival of President Mugabe and his entourage.

The failure by the party to prepare the venue is a big indictment on its ability to carry out basic tasks especially after announcing two weeks ago that all was in place to hold the conference.

This is a common trait of the party. It has oftentimes announced grand plans but has always fallen short on delivery.

For all its failures, it always has someone to blame. The work in progress at the venue can be dismissed as a mere logistical glitch but in actual fact it is not.

It has become a common phenomenon which has permeated into the strata of central government when targets are set but deadlines are often missed even when resources are available.

This is the case with this conference.

The provincial leadership of the party told the nation at the beginning of the month it had raised enough resources to host the event but still missed the target in construction work.

To cap all it all, party delegates in Mutare were engaged in what has become an annual ritual at the conference: the accreditation scrum.

Nothing typifies the paucity of organisational aptitude than the party’s failure to organise a smooth accreditation process.

We have seen the chaotic scenes being replayed during accreditation of polling officers before major national elections.

The chaos has actually become an administrative system often witnessed at government buildings housing key service departments.

Another evidence of poor organisation usually manifests itself in the official programme not being followed. Observers should look out for this in Mutare to see if Zanu PF will improve on this front.

Despite all this, the conference is “on course” and is billed to chart a new direction for this country. The party will only achieve if it does not repeat the age-old lines from its script (which appears is cast in stone) of sanctions, Western imperialism, empowerment, the success of the land reform programme and Mugabe chete, chete. This year, the speakers will add WikiLeaks to the mantras.

We have heard this before and it has not taken the country forward. Early this month Vice-President Joice Mujuru at a meet-the-business conference said “things change and Zanu PF can change”.

This is the challenge before the party at the moment. It has not changed the way it organises itself. Does it expect the voters to believe that it can change?

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