Carnival mood at Zanu-PF National People’s Congress

via Carnival mood at Zanu-PF National People’s Congress | The Herald 5 December 2014 by Lincoln Towindo and Itai Mazire

The Harare Civic Grounds, which were renamed Robert Mugabe Square, resembled a beehive yesterday as thousands of ZANU-PF party cadres turned up for the official opening of the 6th National People’s Congress by President Mugabe.

Although the congress proceedings kicked off on Tuesday with a Politburo meeting, it was President Mugabe’s official launch in the presence of more than 12 000 delegates which signified the start of the actual congress.

Way before President Mugabe’s arrival, the delegates were already in the mood thanks to dendera music exponent Sulumani Chimbetu, who warmed up the stage with a playlist of carefully chosen liberation war songs.

“Gushungo! Gushungo! Gushungo!”, the crowd erupted when master of ceremonies and the party’s political commissar, Cde Webster Shamu, announced that President Mugabe and First Lady Dr Amai Grace Mugabe had arrived at the venue.

And Sulu responded on stage, belting out such popular tracks as “Ndarangarira Gamba” with the chorus “Tina VaMugabe Zimbabwe, Tikurire mhandu Zimbabwe” catching up quickly with the jovial delegates.

In apparent reference to under-fire Vice President Mujuru, the strong crowd chanted “Kana munhu anetsa Gushungo batai munhu”, singing along to Sulu’s blockbuster track “Sean Timba”.

President Mugabe, clad in a ZANU-PF branded party shirt that matched with the First Lady’s party regalia, then made a grand entrance into the giant marquee, waving the famous right fist, sending delegates into delirium.

“Isu naVaMugabe hatidzokere shure,” the delegates sang as President Mugabe and the First Lady took their seats on the high table, flanked by national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, Speaker of Parliament Cde Jacob Mudenda and Senate President Cde Edina Madzongwe.

Acting ZANU-PF chairman for Harare province Cde Godwills Masimirembwa welcomed the delegates to the capital, before declaring that his province was fully behind President Mugabe and the First Lady.

“President Mugabe is a true embodiment of the liberation struggle,” he declared. “Thanks to Dr Amai Mugabe, counter-revolutionary elements like Vice President Mujuru, Goche, Mutasa and company, who wanted to topple the party’s leader, have been exposed.”

The party’s 10 provincial chairpersons, who included some who are on an interim basis following the passing of a vote of no confidence in their predecessors, then took turns to chant the party slogan before Cde Khaya Moyo introduced the President.

Some of the delegates shouted: “Savanhu, Tavengwa, Gamatox, Wrong Basket” in reference to Politburo members Cde Tendai Savanhu and Charles Tavengwa when they entered the congress venue.

The two, including another Politburo member, Cde Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, are facing allegations of working in cahoots with VP Mujuru in a bid to topple President Mugabe.

The three looked out of place each time the President touched on factionalism, while the master of ceremonies Cde Shamu appeared uneasy, spending most of the time outside the tent during the President’s address. He, too, is facing the same allegations of working with VP Mujuru to further her sinister agenda.

During the President’s speech, the delegates would intermittently break into song and dance each time factionalism was mentioned and endlessly chanted the President’s totem, Gushungo.

There was a huge roar when the President concluded his speech, with top delegates rushing onto the dance floor.

“Tiriparwendo naGushungo hapadiwe ndonda pakufamba,” the delegates sang as members of the Politburo and Central Committee exhibited some polished dancing skills, with the First Lady joining them on stage.

The congress continues today and will end tomorrow with the closing speech by President Mugabe and will be one of the rare congresses that has lasted three days of deliberations.