Recently, we carried a report in which it was revealed Zanu PF is allegedly coercing private companies to support an anti-sanctions dinner and concert by contributing up to $100 000 per firm in what some corporate executives described as extortion.
An entertainment company, Yedu Nesu, was contracted to organise the event to be held next month, and has been given permission by the Media, Information and Publicity ministry to approach individuals and corporates for support.
The company aims to bring a host of acclaimed international artistes, among them Malian legend Salif Keita, US-based Haitian musician Wyclef Jean, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Rebecca Malope (South Africa), and Democratic Republic of Congo stars Koffi Olomide and Yondo Sister. Top Zimbabwean artistes have also been lined up.
Media minister Webster Shamu confirmed the development, saying: “That is confirmed. There are no qualms on the issue of sanctions, we are going all out until people are aware that sanctions are illegal; that they are not sanctioned by the United Nations and are meant to reverse the gains we made through the land reform exercise.”
One wonders what the gala will accomplish in a country divided by politicians bent on promoting their selfish agendas.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo at the weekend denied his party was coercing companies and individuals to cough up for the bash. Gumbo claimed the businesses and individuals were freely contributing towards the anti-sanctions concert and snapping up tables at the dinner which are going for $1 000 each.
What hypocrisy! Is it possible that private companies are willingly footing the Zanu PF anti-sanctions programnme? Businesses are very clear what they want — they want to make money and will not simply splash their cash on enterprises that do not promote their firms. That would be tantamount to flogging a dead horse!
Why should businesses be forced to support a political party project as if it was a government programme? If it was a government project, one would have fewer problems with it but whether sanctions are real or imagined, the Zanu PF fundraising ploy is extortion at its worst. If the businesses are willingly supporting the Zanu PF project, why would they complain that the amounts are exorbitant?
Curiously, Zanu PF has launched this project hardly two months after party youths went on a campaign to force businesses in and around Harare to buy President Robert Mugabe’s portrait for $60 and hang it in their shops.
The party apparatchiks also went on the rampage against businesses which failed to comply with their demands, forcing many businesses to close down in the CBD. Businesses were also forced to buy small flags as a sign of patriotism.
Zanu PF has mastered the art of extortion. Is anyone in Zanu PF in charge of what is happening, or are these simply eruptions within the party — itself a sign that the former post-liberation aristocracy is disintegrating?
If the party still has the ambition to form a government in future and/or is to remain with some credibility, it must condemn this thuggery and extortion by its youths. The party is also failing to realise that the country is now being run — or at least should be — by an inclusive government formed by three main political parties.
Until Zanu PF realises the importance of cooperating with other parties, Zimbabwe will never get out of this current political quagmire.
Meanwhile, the artistes approached should spell out the need for democratic reform instead of submitting to Zanu PF’s blandishments.