via Zanu PF squeezes funds from firms 1 December 2014 by Paidamoyo Muzulu
SEVERAL companies and Harare City Council have reportedly been arm-twisted to contribute in cash and kind towards the Zanu PF congress, which kicks off in the city tomorrow, in exchange for their participation at a business expo that will run concurrently with the party congress.
Other corporate bodies that were reportedly coerced into bankrolling Zanu PF’s elective congress include leading mobile phone service provider Econet, which has already mounted a mobile base station at the congress venue while workers and equipment from the City of Harare’s Department of Works were until yesterday busy surfacing the roads leading to the venue.
Zanu PF had targeted to raise $8 million with each of the 10 provinces tasked to mobilise $150 000, eight beasts and five tonnes of mealie-meal towards feeding the estimated 12 000 delegates to the congress.
The party’s embattled secretary for administration and acting finance secretary Didymus Mutasa yesterday refused to comment on reports that the party had coerced private companies to oil its congress preparations.
“Why don’t you ask Econet and the city about that? In any event, I have already said I don’t want to talk to Press. Please, please, I am pleading with you here,” Mutasa curtly said.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni could neither deny nor confirm the development when contacted for comment yesterday. “I have been asked that same question before, let’s discuss it tomorrow (today),” Manyenyeni said.
Econet spokesperson Rangarirai Mberi said: “Econet’s role as a Zimbabwean telecommunications service provider is to offer our services wherever they are needed. This is done on a commercial basis, as is normal, and this case is no exception.”
In less than a month, Zanu PF has converted the open space adjacent to the Rotten Row Magistrates’ Courts into a state-of-the-art functions venue with marquee air-conditioned tents, street lighting, portable toilets, presidential offices and restrooms, a media centre and administration rooms.
The grounds have been paved and several streetlights have been set up in addition to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s outside broadcasting van, huge standby generators and mobile base station that have been put in place for the duration of the congress.
Recent financial reports released by Zanu PF indicated that the party was in the red and was four months ago bailed out by President Robert Mugabe and other wealthy individuals in the party who funded the Youth League and Women’s League conferences.
Previous Zanu PF congresses have been funded by parastatals and private companies with diamond mining firms at Chiadzwa playing a key role in the party’s fundraising activities.