ZANU PF holds its first annual people’s conference without its former leader, Robert Mugabe, who was at the helm for 37 years until the military ousted him in a coup last year to facilitate the rise of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who, in the July 30 elections, controversially got a five-year mandate to lead the country.
After his disputed victory in July, Mnangagwa proclaimed he was now going to steer the country towards an economic and political Canaan under what he terms a “new dispensation”.
However, events since then appear to prove otherwise, as there have been disturbing incidents of police brutality, arbitrary arrests, a cholera outbreak, price increases, a deepening of the currency crisis, foreign exchange and fuel shortages, among many other problems that have reminded Zimbabweans of the dark era of 2008.
While it is clear that the country’s battered economy and archaic infrastructure cannot be transformed overnight, it is important that the government of the day shows goodwill to change.
Charity begins at home; and in this case, the party is the home, and when Zanu PF gathers its over 5 000 delegates and feasts for a few days, the party should take into consideration that it has a battered country to run, where many of the citizenry have no lunch or dinner to look forward to.
In that vein, the agenda of the party must, in essence, not have petty issues such as the war veterans proposal to amend the Constitution and increase the age limit of presidential contestants from 40 years to 52.
In addition, while it is their democratic right, in the context of Zimbabwe, it is barbaric for the party to dwell on the ED Pfee 2023 agenda, when there is a whole five years for Mnangagwa to prove himself, which he should start doing now.
We, therefore, urge Zanu PF to take this conference as a serious platform to introspect and proffer effective solutions to a myriad of challenges facing the country, particularly endemic corruption in high offices.
No amount of pretending can sweep the country’s problems under the carpet.
The country is having one of its worst currency crises, where the base currency, the United States dollar, which many industries thrive on, is scarce.
Civil servants and the general labour force of Zimbabwe is still earning in the bond note, which is losing value daily, but are forced to buy goods in US dollars, and so far doctors and nurses have begun job actions, while teachers are demanding US dollar salaries and may not return to work when schools re-open in January.
Added to that is the fuel shortages headache, which so far has impacted severely on business and has fuelled further price increases.
Hospitals and pharmacies have run out of drug stocks, and if a survey was to be made, the country is losing lives daily.
Ironically, the party, which carries the responsibility for all Zimbabweans by virtue of it being in power, is going to spend $1 million, slaughter more than 50 cattle, consume 50 tonnes of maize meal, among other excesses, at a time the country is on its knees.
While every party has its power struggles, the Zanu PF leadership must realise that the party spent the last five years from 2013 engaged in power struggles, and if the trend continues, as witnessed in the past three months, Zimbabwe could go for another five years of unnecessary fights while the economy melts away, little by little.
Zanu PF must move away from mere politicking and start delivering on promises it made during campaigns, and the tone must be set at their conference.