ZANU PF is struggling to raise US$2 million required to host the party's annual national people's conference.
The conference is scheduled to start in Gweru on Tuesday at the US$6,5 million conference facility that is being built by the Chinese.
The facility, dubbed the Hall of Shame, was toured by President Robert Mugabe yesterday, after he had presided over the graduation ceremony at the Midlands State University.
Sources in the party confided to The Standard, that Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe were finding it difficult to raise the funds needed to host a successful conference.
The party, two weeks ago, reconstituted its fundraising committee after it became apparent that it would not raise enough funds.
Out of desperation, The Standard was told, Zanu PF was asking senior party officials to contribute. The sources disclosed that Zanu PF politburo members were reluctant to make contributions towards the hosting of the conference.
Last week, Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairman, Mike Madiro, told members attending a coordination committee (PCC) meeting to contribute US$1 000 each towards the hosting of the conference.
But some politburo members at the meeting felt the figure was too high.
Politburo member, Victoria Chitepo said she could not afford to fulfil the request.
"Where can an old woman like me get that amount from?" she asked.
"People are starving in the streets and I do not see the logic of forcing them to dig deeper into their pockets to pay that amount."
Other politburo members said they had already been forced to fork out varying amounts according to seniority.
"We were forced to pay between US$1 000 and $2 000 -- depending on one's position in the party," said a politburo member, who requested anonymity.
Some businesses also complained that they were being forced to contribute in cash or kind towards the hosting of the conference.
A senior official of a firm in Mutare said his company was approached for "donations", but indicated to Zanu PF officials that contributions should not be compulsory.
"They said they have blacklisted the company threatening that it will soon be earmarked for indigenisation," he said.
A farmer said the party demanded US$1 000 and some of his farm produce.
"I had no option but to give them. If I refused it was going to backfire for me as I would be labelled an enemy of Zanu PF and this would jeopardise my business," he said.
Another businessman, Tryon Mhisva, said Zanu PF officials accompanied by youths visited shops demanding cash and goodies.
In Mashonaland West province, white commercial farmers last week said they were ordered to donate towards the hosting of the Gweru conference.
At a meeting held behind closed doors at the Chinhoyi Training Centre recently, a senior Zanu PF official read the riot act to the farmers, directing them to donate cash, cattle and maize towards the conference.
Sources who attended the meeting said the official told farmers that it was payback time for being spared during the land reform programme.
"The farmers were assured that there would be no further disturbances on their land," said the source.
"They were asked to continue producing and to report anyone trying to intimidate them off their properties."
Sources said the Zanu PF's begging bowl was being extended to Mashonaland East, Central, Midlands and Masvingo provinces with little success.
Each of the 10 administrative provinces were given a target of US$150 000.
The former ruling party has since independence been forcing villagers to fund its conferences or congress.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo were fruitless yesterday as he continually said he was in a meeting in Gweru.
Zanu PF Chairman for the fundraising committee, Didymus Mutasa, last night declined to shed light on their fundraising activities.
"It has nothing to do with The Standard. What is your interest in this matter?" asked Mutasa.
'Party could be looting proceeds from diamonds'
Sources in Zanu PF however said it was possible the party could be funded through proceeds from the sale of diamonds.
Mugabe may have a secret source of funding, judging by recent developments.
It is still unclear where Zanu PF got the funds to build the Gweru facility, but it is widely suspected that it was funded from the proceeds of gems from Marange.
Mugabe recently unveiled a US$20 million seed aid programme for communal farmers, which is being seen as a vote-buying gimmick.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has questioned Mugabe's source of funding.
Young Turks eye politburo posts
YOUNG Turks in Zanu PF are planning to lobby the conference to adopt a motion compelling 88-year-old Mugabe to fill vacant politburo posts with younger members of the party as part of a leadership renewal.
But the proposal, which was initiated by the young turks themselves, said the source, was being resisted by the old guard who see the initiative as an attempt to end their political careers.
The proposal has set the stage for confrontation as the ambitious young politicians are determined to push their agenda.
But other sources said no surprises were expected as the young turks would easily be subdued by the party bigwigs who are working to frustrate fresh blood.
"While the young turks are backing Mugabe and his presidium, they want to take up strategic positions ahead of elections," said the source.
"They feel the old guard is no longer energetic in the face of stiff competition from the MDC-T."
There is a widespread feeling among the young turks that most of the politburo members, who wanted to contest next years' election were too old and had run out of steam to compete robust MDC-T activists.
Most MDC-T candidates are still young, energetic, articulate and militant, traits of modern politicians.
But another Zanu PF official said some of the young turks had the disadvantage that they were still not fully trusted, having joined the party not a long time ago.
He said the conference was already a foregone conclusion with delegates expected to endorse Mugabe as the party's candidate in next year's elections.
The vacant posts include that of secretary for finance, which fell vacant following the death of Harare governor, David Karimanzira and that of secretary for external affairs, which was occupied by the late Higher and Tertiary education minister Stan Mudenge.
The politburo post held by the late veteran politician, Kantibhai Gordanbhai Patel,is also yet to be filled.
Several central committee positions are also vacant following the deaths of incumbents.