Zanu PF conference centre turns into white elephant

via Zanu PF conference centre turns into white elephant – The Zimbabwe Independent by Elias Mambo October 4, 2013

THE US$6,5 million Zanu PF conference centre built in Gweru last year for the party’s 13th annual people’s conference is fast-becoming a white elephant amid reports no major activities are taking place there despite assurances by the leadership the venue would be a tourist attraction for both locals and foreigners, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

This comes against the backdrop of plans by the party to build another posh conference centre in Chinhoyi for its December conference, likely to cost US$10 million.

The 5 000-seater facility, dubbed the “Hall of Shame” is owned by the Midlands Development Association (MDA) — a grouping of businesspeople, linked to Zanu PF — and was built in just two-and a-half months by a Chinese company.

The convention centre was constructed under the stewardship of Murehwa South legislator Joel Biggie Matiza, appointed Local Government deputy minister in the new Zanu PF government.

The centre’s aim is to generate income for a broke Zanu PF which has even been failing to pay its workers.

Impeccable sources in the Midlands claim the conference centre, 15km along the Mvuma road and about 20km from Gweru city centre, has failed to attract the envisaged business.

“Very little has happened since the facility hosted the Zanu PF party in December last year,” said a Zanu PF source in Gweru. “So far, it has been used for Zanu PF functions only with the last one being a provincial restructuring meeting held at the end of April when the party’s national chairperson, Simon Khaya Moyo toured the province.”

But MDA chairperson Larry Mavhima argued the centre is being used for various functions, insisting: “The facility is being rented out to people for various functions such as conferences, weddings and churches. We have plans to build a hotel, a shopping mall and some recreational facilities at the conference centre to attract people from the city centre.”

But a Gweru wedding planner said: “Honestly, who would rent the 5 000-seater facility for a wedding? In any event, nowadays people prefer garden weddings to halls for their weddings. Besides, the centre is not adequately accessible.”

Meanwhile, Zanu PF sources in Chinhoyi said the party had settled for the area just behind the Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital as the construction site for its December conference, with Chinhoyi University of Technology grounds being an alternative venue should construction fall behind schedule due to lack of funds.

The sources also claim the third option would be to lay concrete slabs and pitch tents on the initially identified site.

However, some highly-placed sources within Zanu PF are querying the logic behind constructing plush conference centres countrywide when the party is in financial dire straits.



  • comment-avatar

    Well look at that racist remark…because its bad it is called a “WHITE” elephant???
    OK thats just a joke!!!
    Maybe cos the chinks built it,we can call it a yellow elephant but the crux of the matter is that it cetainly is a hall of shame, and now they going to build another white elephant in Chinhoyi. I wonder what name this one will get.

  • comment-avatar
    Macon Pane 9 years ago

    Keep your day job, GBZ. 🙂

    ZANUPF appears to think economics is smoke and mirrors, or magic. Before ya invest that kinda money in a venture, someone needs to plan on Return On Investment to recoup that initial investment. Obviously, that was a step they forgot… or didn’t know about… or just didn’t care, because it was someone else’s money.

  • comment-avatar
    Bruce 9 years ago

    Property investment is not a bad idea in a liquid economy, however in Zimbabwe where the general population is poor with little need of such infrustructure is a was of public funds though Zanu PF feels it it money. The money is coming from diamonds and gold which are public resources the Zanu PF is looting. The money may came as kick backs from Chinese for exploiting the resources after Mugabe and his crew gives them mining permits. Or may came as favours for not paying correct taxes or favourable tender awards. It still public money.