PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday launched a diatribe on the ruling Zanu PF party’s heavyweights in the central committee and politburo for failing to contribute to the youth conference while they were busy burning the midnight oil in clandestine factional meetings.
Mugabe said he had come to the rescue of the desperate and embarrassing situation by donating 1 000 tonnes of maize grain, 30 cattle and unquantified volumes of milk from his diary farm project, Gushungo Holdings, to put smiles back on the faces of the starving youths.
The President’s remarks came at a time the ruling party was heavily split along factional lines with members angling to position themselves as the race to succeed the 90-year-old veteran leader gathers momentum.
Two factions — believed to be led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa — are reportedly battling to succeed Mugabe, although both have denied harbouring presidential ambitions.
The President also disclosed that Zanu PF was very broke with thousands of party supporters attending the party’s youth league conference facing transportation and accommodation challenges,while also going for the whole day on empty stomachs.
“I cannot have a central committee and politburo that is inept. The people are just concentrating on power struggles, holding clandestine and dirty meetings and forgetting to prepare for the youths’ conference. They forget where power is coming from. It comes from the people,” an irate Mugabe charged.
“I was informed that the people, apart from the delay in transport, were not fed. We are failing to provide food to the people? So I said to Amai Mugabe (Grace), we have maize, 1 000 tonnes, they can go and take. People need meat, they can go and take cattle they will find there, either 20 or 30. We will stop selling milk from our dairy farm and the milk will come here.”
Mugabe said he was surprised that the party’s finance department had failed to mobilise resources from the central committee members and other officials in positions of leadership in Zanu PF.
“We will organise our party after this. I am just not happy that the whole of our central committee has been sitting and failing to plan for this conference on the basis that the financial side of the party has failed to raise funds. I have been told there is no cent. What is happening to the party?” Mugabe queried.
He blasted the party’s top brass, accusing them of using money to get leadership positions. Mugabe said jostling for positions was destroying the party.
“We are aware of the clandestine organisations and the activities getting on in the party, flimsy and dirty, are destroying the party and people pretend that we don’t know what is happening. Weevils, yes, but I hear that others have said we should apply Gamatox [a pesticide] on them,” Mugabe said.
He warned officials that were claiming certain positions to be theirs, saying people belonged to the party, not individuals.
On Thursday, outgoing women’s affairs boss Oppah Muchinguri said the party was succumbing to factionalism, but urged party youths to desist such divisive tendencies and rally behind Mugabe and his wife.