An overdue assembly of comrades

Source: An overdue assembly of comrades | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Leroy Dzenga

Senior Reporter

THERE is something about time that makes it subservient to life.

When life springs one of its many surprises, time seems to stop in its tracks.

The year 2020 reminded us of the might life has; humans can only plan as far as the conditions allow.

Covid-19 forced politics, sports, tourism, finance, even commerce — known for its stubbornness — to compromise and slow down. Existential threats leave little room for negotiation.

Last year, the ruling Zanu PF had to compromise. For the first time since the first ZANU PF conference, the party decided to forego the annual indaba on account of the pandemic.

President Mnangagwa, flanked by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and Zanu PF Acting National Political Commissar Cde Patrick Chinamasa arrive for the closing session of the conference yesterday. — Pictures: Kudakwashe Hunda

This year, thanks to vaccines and improved knowledge about how the disease works, it was again possible to interact physically.

This just ended Zanu PF Annual National People’s Conference could have easily been a virtual event on account of the lingering danger of another wave of the coronavirus.

However, the party decided to read from Chinua Achebe’s leaves of wisdom.

In “Things Fall Apart”, Achebe makes an argument on the importance of fellowship among like-minded people.

“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.”

The thirst for a revolutionary congregation of comrades was palpable within the ruling party following last year’s postponed meeting.

President Mnangagwa listens to Zanu PF National Chairman Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (second from left) as she reads a citation after the unveiling of the plaque) during a tree planting ceremony at BUSE on Friday. Looking on are Mashonaland Central Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Monica Mavhunga (third from left) and other senior party officials.

And it showed when they congregated for last week’s indaba.

Delegates clad in colourful party regalia exuded pride with each step they took and indeed every dance and revolutionary slogan chant.

Greetings and the sharing of pleasantries among comrades were equally spirited. Most of the conversations among delegates were littered with small talk of how the pandemic had robbed comrades of a chance to break bread together.

Such priceless reflections justify why the party invests in all manner of accessories and gizmos required to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 prevention protocols at all points of convergence across the country’s 10 provinces.

Members of the ruling party attend the closing session of the conference yesterday

At the heart of the main event at Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE), was a loud and strident voice many of the party’s faithful had missed for almost a year.

Zanu PF deputy political commissar Cde Omega Hungwe’s unmistakable voice has over the years become the echo of the party’s energy. Lockdown has not slowed her down, in fact she returned with seemingly rejuvenated energy.

“I am happy that today I got to return to emceeing at party events.

“As you know I handle most rallies, conferences and congresses. I love contributing to my party that way,” said Cde Hungwe.

“It was exciting to be hosting the event virtually, it was a really great experience. I would call delegates in Masvingo and they would respond immediately. This shows how Zanu PF as a party is open to modern ideas”.

The palpable energy at the main venue was contagious.

Zanu PF Vice Presidents Cdes Constantino Chiwenga (left) and Kembo Mohadi greet party members on arrival the conference venue on Friday

Musician Chief Shumba, who has been belting hit jingles for the party since the 2018 election campaign, delivered spirited performances every time he was called to the stage.

His new song “Musangano Wakasimba Kumasero” (The party is strong at the grassroots) witnessed him being called back to perform repeatedly throughout the two days.

Each time he was called for an encore, he delivered with the renewed aplomb of a first time performer.

For new affiliate organisations like Young Women for Economic Development (YW4ED), the conference was an opportunity to drink from the well of wisdom.

“It was an opportunity for us to network and interact with senior Zanu PF members getting to understand some things first hand.

From left: Ministers Amon Murwira, Anxious Masuka and Winston Chitando and other delegates follow proceedings yesterday

“It was a learning curve,” said YW4ED president Cde Tatenda Mavetera.

War veterans, who were participating as a fully-fledged party wing for the first time, were equally ecstatic.

Speaking to The Sunday Mail, Secretary for War Veterans’ wing, Cde Douglas Mahiya, said their inaugural conference participation marks the fulfilment of a political position long held in the party.

“The conference is a key platform for the war veterans to contribute ideas to the party and to be heard.

“This way, we had a chance to give our opinions on issues and also get to learn from colleagues. It was better now that we are a full party league,” said Cde Mahiya.

Zanu PF Acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau (in white) follows proceedings at the conference yesterday

The atmosphere was a mixture of frank conversations and comic relief.

Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president Chief Charumbira offered comic relief on Friday with a rather longish yet loaded speech.

Many who attended the indaba went away with warm hearts, heated by the fervid fire of camaraderie that enveloped Bindura for two revolutionary days.