The Herald (Harare)

13 December 2012

Zimbabwe: 2013 Year of Electoral Victory

Over 5000 Zanu-PF delegates converged in Gweru last week at the newly constructed US$6,5 million giant convention and exhibition centre for the annual indaba where the party took stock of this year's programmes.

The 13th Zanu-PF Annual National People's Conference according to party officials and some observers was a resounding success. There was candid debate with the First Secretary and President Mugabe hammering on factionalism, corruption, the imposition of candidates among other issues.

The party declared that 2013 was a year of electoral victory and people are looking forward to seeing Zanu-PF implementing the resolutions in a way that will see people sitting on the fence jumping to its side.

This should not amaze many people because Zanu-PF is a party that brought democracy -- one man/woman one vote, economic empowerment and rule of law. At this point it will be imperative to note why the party after such a colourful resume built over 32 years is now losing votes and in some cases nearly being knocked out by small movements such as the MDC-T. During the conference, the party had no problems in confirming President Mugabe as its Presidential candidate in the harmonised election next year. There are, however, some problems with electing candidates of repute to represent it in Parliamentary and Local Government elections. Truly, this is a thorn in the flesh for Zanu-PF and if not handled meticulously has the potential to split votes, a scenario that the MDC formations will definitely take advantage of.

Everyone knows the MDC-T is going to confirm sitting legislators by consensus as its candidates for next year's polls and primaries will be held in areas where they do not have sitting MPs. There are feuds right now in that party but as time goes on they might strike an agreement and proceed to polls. However, the conference did not come up with a position on primaries and if they wait longer, the party might be haunted again by the bhora musango concept that nearly cost it in 2008. This time to ensure victory, the conference resolved to adopt a "Bhora Mugedhi"/"Ibhola Egedhini" posture.

For that to be achieved, it is imperative that Zanu-PF should come up with a clear criteria and conditions to guide the conduct of primary elections on time that will ensure free and fair result. If primaries are held early, it gives time for the party to rally losing candidates to the party and go into the elections a united force.

At this point out of the over six million registered voters, Zanu-PF should have a data base of its supporters that it knows will easily be mobilised come election date and cast their ballots in its favour.

Some high ranking officials in the party are intercepting money, inputs and other goodies meant for the poor for their selfish political gains. It is, however, intriguing that the party resolved to develop innovative, strategies to attract and maintain the support of women, youths and people with disabilities. The party should also deal with some rich party members who abuse poor party youths and use them to engage in violence for their political gains.

It is a welcome development that the party wants De Beers investigated for the illegal mining operations carried out by the company in Marange under the guise of exploration. Surely these economic atrocities should be dealt with accordingly.

The decision to introduce currencies of the BRICS countries and other emerging economies as legal tender in Zimbabwe alongside the US Dollar is welcome. However, the resolution to re-introduce domestic currency alongside the multi-currency system in order to address the current liquidity crisis and to enable people to carry out their transactions needs to be interrogated.

As long as the economy has not fully recovered and as long the sanctions are in place, the local currency will be manipulated by powerful politicians and those in the financial service sector. The poor and honest hardworking Zimbabweans will be the victims of such currency combination. The Government should work with local banks and ensure that smaller denominations of Rand and US dollars are made available on the market until a time when the economy has fully recovered to support local currency.

Some of the broad based resolutions are noble and have far reaching consequences to the people's lives. There is nothing wrong with intensifying the community based cattle-herd rebuilding intervention programme spearheaded by Zanu-PF. That the artisanal (makorokoza) and small scale miners be incorporated into mainstream mining through support such as provision of equipment and training in modern mining. These resolutions if implemented well have the potential to help the country create massive employment in rural areas, which is the powerbase for Zanu-PF.

The party will definitely make huge political inroads if it intensifies the indigenisation and empowerment programmes as the basis of creating a new breed of employers who are conscious of the national interest to create wealth and provide more jobs. This is also in line with the conference theme of Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment. In areas where villagers benefited though Community Share Ownership Trust and the Sovereign Wealth Fund, there is a need for the party to urge the Government to facilitate value addition.

Zanu-PF should be reminded that the land reform programme will never come to an end because the population is growing and these people need land.

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