We are powerless: Zanu PF
HARARE – For three decades, the Zanu PF politburo acted as a de facto government, directing State arms at every turn.
But President Robert Mugabe and his band are getting used to being reduced to wishful thinkers harmstrung by a decline that has forced them to share power in a shaky coalition as well as requiring the regional Sadc body for actions such as calling elections.
At the recent Zanu PF conference held in Gweru, party cadres again produced a long wish-list: return of the Zimbabwe dollar, abandoning the constitution-making process by Christmas, elections by March under the Lancaster House constitution.
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo admits the once-mighty “revolutionary party” simply no longer wields the power to effect resolutions it has consistently passed at different gatherings in the past four years.
He told the Daily News on Sunday after the conclusion of Zanu PF’s annual pilgrimage that the party is suffering from “the reality on the ground”.
“What happens in terms of implementation is that sometimes the resolutions we make are torpedoed by the reality on the ground. We cannot just force things through without considering what the situation demands,” he said.
“In some instances, the situation dictates that we change tact,” Gumbo said.
The Zanu PF information supremo was responding to questions on why his party has continued to demand elections, the return of the Zimbabwe dollar and self-renewal through integrating youths into its higher echelons without seeing these through.
Since Mugabe was forced into a coalition government by Sadc and the African Union in the aftermath of the disputed 2008 presidential election run-off, the Zimbabwean strongman has taken every opportunity to declare he would dissolve Parliament and call for elections to no avail.
His wishes have come unstuck as power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA) guarantor Sadc has put its foot down and demanded reforms first, in particular a new constitution.
As one of its resolutions last week, Mugabe’s party demanded that those saddled with crafting a new governance charter for the country come up with an agreeable draft by Christmas or its leader calls for elections.
“The party implores the GPA parties to conclude the constitution-making process before Christmas this year, failing which the Head-of-State and Commander-in-Chief of the defence forces should in terms of the law issue the relevant proclamation dissolving Parliament and fixing a date for the holding of harmonised elections under the current Constitution,” the resolutions read.
Then big brother (Sadc)spoke to the effect that Zanu PF was dreaming.
A Sadc Extraordinary Summit of the Heads State and Government held in Tanzania during the same week poured cold water on the Zanu PF demands, by issuing its own resolutions demanding that the coalition partners in Zimbabwe complete the constitution-making process before any election is held.
“Summit urged the political stakeholders in Zimbabwe to fully implement the GPA and urged the political stakeholders to finalise the constitutional process including referendum before the holding of…the elections in 2013,” the resolutions read in part.
A man who has constantly denied Zanu PF’s wish of turning the Zimdollar, Finance minister Tendai Biti, said some of Zanu PF’s resolutions belong to dreamland.
In an interview with South African cable television channel e-TV Africa, Biti said Zimbabwe’s struggling economy cannot sustain the return of the country’s comatose currency.
“The currency of any country is related to production. We have a disastrous current account position where our imports are three times the size of our exports. We need to work on the supply side, reforms and create an economy that can sustain the return of the Zimdollar,” Biti said.
“Zanu PF has no capacity to run the economy and that is why we are in this mess. They are trying to score cheap political points,” Biti said.
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn president Simba Makoni, who reportedly left the party to contest the 2008 elections as a strategy to neutralise votes and save Mugabe from outright defeat, said Zanu PF should not be taken seriously anymore.
“Zanu PF is very insignificant in the life of Zimbabweans going forward. Nobody takes what they say seriously anymore. This party does not have the energy or capacity for self- renewal,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.
He said Mugabe and Zanu PF were on a leash.
“Mugabe and his party’s political livelihoods are dependent on Sadc hence they would not do anything to antagonise the regional body. It is all political hogwash,” Makoni said.
Political analyst Jonah Gokova said Zanu PF has lost capacity to generate new ideas.
“This party has lost capacity to generate new ideas. We need new thinking, not the constant recycling of slogans, policies and people.
“They should be thankful to Sadc for delaying their demise. If they continue on this path with no innovation as we go for elections, I can tell you the end of Zanu PF is nigh,” Gokova said.
“The resolutions coming out of Gweru show that Zanu PF is not ready for elections even if they are held in June. It is all rhetoric, hot air signifying nothing,” he said.
Gumbo, on the other hand, insisted that Zanu PF is grooming young people for leadership.
“We hold workshops and youths have been urged to take up various positions in the party. They just need to understand the party ideology, values and our inspiration. The willingness is there,” he said.