SOME corporate organisations and individual ruling party backers yesterday stampeded to donate food hampers for delegates to the high-profile Zanu PF Women’s League banquet which opens in Harare today.
The donations came a few days after President Robert Mugabe publicly chided top party officials for failing to mobilise sufficient resources for the Youth League conference, forcing the First Family to dig deep into its coffers to feed the starving party youths.
But, yesterday, NewsDay observed several trucks queuing at the party headquarters ready to offload food donations, some of which came from Mugabe’s lieutenant Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
The party’s “Young Turks” — including Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Information minister Jonathan Moyo, business mogul Phillip Chiyangwa and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao — donated five beasts each towards the Women’s League conference where 4 000 delegates are expected to attend.
The food galore came hardly 24 hours after the ruling party had extended a begging bowl to the corporate sector as organisers stared another embarrassing food shortage similar to last week’s episode where party youths had spent the whole day on empty stomachs before Mugabe’s family donated 100 tonnes of maize, 30 cattle and milk from his Gushungo dairy farm.
After the donation, Mugabe launched a tirade on central committee and politburo members accusing them of endlessly engaging in clandestine and flimsy factional meetings at the expense of mobilising resources for the youth conference.
Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo yesterday confirmed the food galore saying: “Food donations have been coming since morning and we will not have a repeat of what happened last week at the youth conference.
“We are on the eve of the sixth women’s conference which begins in earnest tomorrow (today). As a people’s party, with massive support countrywide, we have received several contributions and donations from party supporters, well-wishers and the business community.”
Trucks laden with donated beef, frozen chickens, mealie-meal, cooking oil, chickens, rice, baked beans, and other foodstuffs were still parked at the entrance of the party’s headquarters in Harare late in the afternoon.
Bakers Inn, Carswell Meats, Drummond Chickens, Irvine’s Chickens, Koala Abattoir and Colcom were among the companies that donated foodstuffs for the conference.
Mujuru donated 30 tonnes of maize, 3 500 T-shirts, bread, eggs and rice, while the Women’s League itself received two beasts, rice and other food items from all the country’s 10 provinces to feed the estimated 4000 delegates.
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said Zanu PF was geared for a successful conference after yesterday’s food boost from the corporate sector.
Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri is expected to hand over the reins of power to First Lady Grace Mugabe after she recently received the thumbs-up from both the women and youth leagues.
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF national elections directorate yesterday held an emergency meeting to come up with strategies aimed at plugging holes and avoiding vote-buying in its next internal elections.
This follows reports that the just-ended Youth League conference and Women’s League provincial elections were marred by electoral irregularities.
“This will not happen again. We are meeting soon to come up with strategies on how to prevent vote-buying,” Gumbo said.