Zanu PF has set up an anti-sanctions committee headed by war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda to carry out a national campaign where about 700 000 people are expected to sign a petition against the embargo, NewsDay has learnt.
The committee was set up in Masvingo early this month at a meeting chaired by Acting President John Nkomo and attended by ministers Didymus Mutasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa and provincial party chairpersons as well as chairpersons of the youth and women’s leagues.
According to party insiders, the committee, a brainchild of the party’s national commissar who doubles up as the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, would be made up of war veterans and members of the party’s commissariat.
Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday confirmed the party would soon launch an anti-sanctions campaign, but did not divulge details.
“The anti-sanctions campaign will be launched, but I cannot go into details right now. We will advise you when it is launched,” he said.
However, party insiders said the major task of the committee would be to go around the country’s 10 provinces holding meetings with members of the public to denounce the sanctions. During the meetings, a petition where the members of the public would be required to “voluntarily” append their signatures would be availed.
Sources said each province was handed a target of a minimum of 70 000 signatures which should translate to 700 000 countrywide.
The petition is expected to be a handed to the three principals during the constitutional referendum.
“It was decided that the party was not doing enough about sanctions because it would be seen to be violating the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The party members were told in Masvingo not to talk much about the sanctions hence the formation of the committee,” said a party insider.
“It was decided that the committee be spearheaded by Sibanda since the war veterans’ association was seen to be an independent organisation and hence is not bound by the GPA, unlike the party whose president, Robert Mugabe, is one of the three principals in the inclusive government.
“After each meeting the people would be given a chance to put their signatures on the anti-sanctions petition. It is expected that about 700 000 people sign the petition which would be handed over at the same time the constitutional referendum will be held,” said the source.
Efforts to speak to Sibanda were fruitless yesterday as both his mobile telephones were unreachable. A source close to the war veterans’ leader said Sibanda was busy doing party business in the Gutu district of Masvingo province.
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF Bulawayo province on Sunday met and discussed strategies to be used by the committee to get their campaign to the masses.
Sibanda is expected to visit Bulawayo province soon after which he would visit Matabeleland South and North provinces before proceeding to the rest of the provinces.
“A lot of ideas were tossed around and some of the proposed strategies involved engaging social groups like residents’ associations and church organisations,” said the party insider.
The revelations come after the Zimbabwe Europe Network, a consortium of more than 20 non-governmental organisations, last week said sanctions on Zimbabwe must stay intact until human and property rights violations stopped.