IT is no surprise, really, that about 7 000 delegates attending the ruling Zanu PF party’s 18th conference are expected to consume 160 cattle and goats, eight tonnes of maize and five tonnes of chicken when they gather at Goromonzi in Mashonaland East beginning today. They are just functioning according to their default mode — as they have always done even under the late former President Robert Mugabe — to feast and make merry while the rest of the population wallows in abject poverty.
Those who were hoping for a new trajectory under President Mnangagwa’s leadership are in for a huge disappointment because as we all know, there are no tangible solutions to the country’s economic mess that will come out of that gathering. While they feast and roister, the majority of Zimbabweans will be facing perhaps one of their bleakest ever festive season after prices of basic goods having shot through the roof.
Ordinary people in Mashonaland East, many of who are wallowing in penury, will have to be content with watching the choreographed scenes of how to devour huge meals in the midst of glaring privation and lack. The partying comes at a time the United Nations has declared that the country is facing a severe food crisis. Quite clearly, this demonstrates that Zanu PF would not care less about the rest of the mortals, just as they have presided over the economic downturn and increased impoverishment of the majority ever since independence in 1980.
At a time the country — and industry in particular — is facing a severe fuel crisis, thousands of litres of fuel have been availed for Zanu PF supporters to travel from all over the country to attend the conference, which we all know is just a talkshow and won’t provide solutions to the country’s mounting challenges.
The preparations done so far read like a page pulled out a fairy tale: Leading meat company, Koala offloading meat, Zesa officials putting final touches as they installed a transformer at the venue, ZINWA and DDF drilling boreholes, the least reads like a novel. While Seke legislator Munyaradzi Kashambe said this would be “a memorable conference” what is sad is that the majority of the population cannot say the same of this year’s festive season.
Long after the conference is done and dusted, the ordinary villagers will continue with their daily grind, selling wild fruits by the roadside to eke out a living.
Quite clearly, Zanu PF has not quenched its penchant for extravagance, given the zeal it has demonstrated to spoil its 18th conference delegates.