The 13th ZANU-PF annual people’s conference turned out to be a motor vehicle showcase as party bigwigs, diplomats and other wealthy delegates descended on the Midlands capital, showing off their latest brands of expensive cars.
Most senior ZANU-PF officials, among them Cabinet ministers and business people, drove into Gweru, the venue of the conference, in top of the range vehicles that included Mercedes Benz, Chrysler, Jaguar, 4X4 Prado, Land Rover, Range Rover and an assortment of Utility Sports Vehicles.
To go with their expensive cars, mostly were clad in branded expensive suits, shirts and shoes despite soaking rains that pounded on the Midlands provincial capital.
The bling seen during the ZANU-PF conference was in sharp contrast to the grinding poverty in the Midlands province.
The region has suffered massive deindustrialisation as companies scaled down operations while others have shut down completely.
In spite of all the doom and gloom, last week the city became the epicentre of the glitz, and glamour associated with a party seemingly swimming in big monies.
Daily flashy cars made a bee-line to the newly constructed 5000 seater convention and exhibition centre on the outskirts of the Midlands capital.
Some delegates were forced to commute from Harare daily while others were forced to find accommodation in Kwekwe, about 56 kilometres away.
So overwhelmed was the country's third largest city that it witnessed temporary fuel shortages by the time President Robert Mugabe jetted into town to officially open the conference on Thursday.
By late Friday afternoon most service stations in the city had run dry.
The few service stations that had the precious commodity experienced frustrating congestion as hundreds of motorists poured into the city for the annual event.
Officials at various fuel service stations, in separate interviews, revealed that demand surpassed their normal supplies during the indaba.
"We had anticipated that demand would go up but we did not expect the situation to be like that although we managed to cope as the congress progressed after we increased our orders to at least 40 000 litres of both petrol and diesel," said Mike Chikwiro, a manager at Sakunda Energy.
Total Main Street branch manager, Andrew Mureverwi said: "There was a huge increase in the demand for fuel and our products in general. We actually adjusted our working hours to offer service to all our clients. Our daily consumption of fuel increased from an average of about 3 000 litres to 5 000 litre a day."