Source: Editorial Comment: Zanu-PF must regain focus – fast | The Herald October 3, 2016
Let’s put it bluntly that crudely projected political ambition, rumour-mongering and abuse of social media have done more to damage the name and image of the ruling Zanu-PF party than the unsophisticated shenanigans of opposition parties and their media lapdogs. More than anything else, it is these tendencies and preoccupations which bred in the party structures toxins that came to be known as “Gamatox” and “weevils”.
All this should be worrying for a political party of revolution such as Zanu-PF which, because of its pedigree and trailblazing policies on the continent, should know better than any other that it is bound to have more enemies than friends among those who rule the affairs of this world. Sadly, the internal ructions in the party have also provided fodder for the local opposition which, because of its founding tenets and therefore ethos, happily acts as a vector of whatever is negative which it amplifies for its funders.
It is for these reasons that President Mugabe was forced to repeat himself at the Women’s League meeting last Thursday when he spoke strongly about the need for peace, harmony and collective thinking in the party. He spoke also strongly against those who flout protocol and the party constitution by seeking to decide by themselves who should or shouldn’t be Vice President of the country or party.
Indeed, we thought these were settled matters since the President made those appointments in 2013. He has the sole prerogative to make such appointments. Those who disagree with the suitability of the same are certainly out of order, although, quite magnanimously, the President has allowed such reservations to be expressed within the relevant organs in the party. These issues should be internal to Zanu-PF. But they haven’t been and that’s our biggest concern here.
Preoccupation with internal problems in the middle of debilitating economic challenges has given the opposition ammunition to portray Zanu-PF as an uncaring party singularly consumed by a desire to rule without a concomitant responsibility to meet the daily needs of the ruled and those who voted for it and its policies. We are referring here to a promise to create an environment for a “growing economy and an empowered society”.
We have had sanctions playing their part in the current economic circumstance in the past 16 years. Then nature has conspired in the form of the El Nino weather phenomenon to inflict injury on “a new economy” still too fragile to withstand those sanctions. And internal disharmony in Zanu-PF has only compounded these external factors, as if they were not strong enough to worry about. That is very worrisome.
While Zanu-PF problems originated internally around the so-called succession issue, the actors have not acted with sufficient maturity to wash their linen in the bathroom. They have gone on mountain tops to give maximum publicity to what should have been a domestic matter. That too should be worrying.
The result is that while the private media and opposition have grown fat feeding off these squabbles, Zanu-PF itself has attenuated in terms of organisational stature and public standing. Let’s repeat this; the ruling party has appeared too distracted with matters internal since the overwhelming electoral victory of July 2013 that those who voted for it are justified to sometimes feel abandoned. It would be deception if we did not state these truths.
It is fortunate that Zanu-PF has rivals to power an opposition which is enervating in its posturing, and completely hopeless by both promise and subject matter. It is an opposition trying to sell to a hungry electorate hot air under a sky-blue October midday.
Still, that should be cold comfort. Zanu-PF must realise that too much complacency can cause indifference in voters at best, or permanent alienation and disaffection at worst.
Those are extremes which it must narrow, because it is not everyone who is ready to die for land reform as much as it is not everyone who benefited directly. Let the President’s message of harmony and service to party and nation assume a new urgency in the ruling party. Zim-Asset challenges everyone to duty.