Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Can ZANU-PF be trusted? | The Financial Gazette December 15, 2016
ZANU-PF faithfuls are gathered in the ancient city of Masvingo for their annual people’s conference to run over five days. More than 7 000 delegates are attending the conference, which opened on Tuesday.
The indaba could not have come at a better time.
Zimbabwe’s economy is in a state of paralysis. Government revenues have been on the wane on the back of company closures, rising unemployment, and the rapid expansion of the informal sector.
Only a week ago, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa presented a grim 2017 National Budget which was nothing to write home about. It was a budget crafted under extremely difficult conditions, with only one objective weighing heavily on the minds of fiscal authorities: Keeping the governing administration afloat.
In his budget statement, Chinamasa had this to say: “The economy, notwithstanding resilience, remains under stress, principally on account of low domestic production across the various sectors – that is in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, construction, as well as in the other service sectors… While the recent El-Nino-induced drought had an effect on farming output, and depressed international commodity prices on mineral exports, reduced output across the other sectors is also reflective of the need for increased investment, both domestic and foreign.”
These are the hard facts that should be tackled by delegates attending ZANU-PF’s conference if they are to be taken seriously.
All along, what has been missing in our economic turnaround efforts has been political will. But can ZANU-PF be trusted this time around?
History could repeat itself since a leopard cannot change its spots. At previous party conferences, there has been a lot of hot air, which meant nothing to the generality of the suffering Zimbabweans.
As a result, the conferences have gained notoriety for being platforms where the mighty in the ruling party feast like jackals and dance as if they were possessed by demons, while the proverbial Rome is burning. There have also been reports of grown up men and women behaving recklessly during the cover of darkness after retiring to their various lodges and hotels in a country grappling with the HIV and Aids pandemic.
In light of the factionalism pervading ZANU-PF structures, the conference could turn out to be more of the same with rival factions, namely Team Lacoste and Generation 40 (G40), using the indaba to settle their political scores and gain ground over their opponents.
Zimbabweans have themselves to blame for this. Rarely have the ruling elites been made to account for their actions. Politicians have been allowed to take advantage of a docile populace by skirting issues that really matter to the generality of Zimbabweans and expending their time and energies on trivia.
To debunk this trend, we must invoke the spirit of servant leadership based on enriching the lives of the general populace, building better organisations and ultimately creating a more just and caring society.
Those who occupy public office must be kept on their toes all the time; they must be asked hard questions and must give room to others if they fail to live up to their promises.