Ordinary Bulawayo residents yesterday said the Zanu PF conference underway in the city is a non-event to them as little is expected from it. Members are “scared” to tackle the succession issue.
They said the conference would have been a watershed one had the issue of succession — which would clearly set the tone for a “smooth leadership transition” — had been included in the agenda instead of routine matters like indigenisation, mining, agriculture and the state of the economy.
The issue has now become controversial and added a divisive dimension to the country’s turbulent politics.
“Zanu PF has over the years held such meetings, but what is surprising is the agenda has remained the same. Why are they afraid to include the succession issue on their agenda?” Priscilla Mathe said.
Mathe said the succession debate would have added a spark to the conference.
Another resident who claimed to be a Zanu PF member, Givemore Mataire, concurred with Mathe saying the agenda was “boring”.
“Being a low-key party member, having observed the past conferences — including the congress — and reading from the media that succession would not be discussed, it makes the gathering less important.
“During the conference we don’t expect much from (President Robert) Mugabe, but this one is guaranteed — that he would attack his traditional rivals the West and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai” said Mataire.
According to the party’s national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, the conference will among other things lay the groundwork for elections expected next year.
In 2009 Zanu PF’s Politburo announced it had set up a succession committee to come up with procedures on how to tackle the leadership issue.
However, it was dissolved last year before it met.
The succession committee was ironically composed of Zanu PF stalwarts with power ambitions, who included Vice-President John Nkomo, the party’s secretary for legal affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the late Solomon Mujuru, Oppah Muchinguri, Sydney Sekeramai and Didymus Mutasa.