The Zanu PF Annual Conference will officially begin in Goromonzi on Friday. The choice of the venue evoked yesteryear memories when former President Robert Mugabe faced an internal revolt after party members plotted to stop him from extending his tenure beyond 2008.
Unlike his predecessor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa will open the party Indaba after having been endorsed as the party’s leader barely two years after he was elected. His government is, however, facing one of its major battles – an underperforming economy.
During last year’s election campaign, Mnangagwa promised to transform the economy, build energy plants, create employment, and strengthen the pillars of governance.
His performance on those fronts has been unsatisfactory. For many, it is the economy that the government continues to struggle against. The state of the economy is, however, secondary to the optics of the opposition MDC-Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa which challenges Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.
This has been a source of a major political impasse that has had socio-economic ramifications, which many believe now requires a political settlement. As multitudes of Zanu PF supporters shake the clinched fist at the conference extolling the virtues of the party, its leadership should be mindful of the election promises made to millions of supporters who voted the party into government.
With more than two-thirds majority in Parliament, the party is clearly the dominant political actor in Zimbabwe. But it should go beyond that. Thousands of talented youths who graduated from tertiary institutions and vocational training centres are hoping for a new dawn, and an era of new enterprises seeing the light of day and promoting entrepreneurship.
An era of sloganeering, trolling the opposition and bootlicking cannot save Zimbabwe. National interest should be seen through the lenses of 15 million Zimbabweans yearning for a Second Republic they hoped for after Mugabe’s ouster.
After enduring a very difficult festive season last year, Zimbabwe could have the same experience again this year. Or even worse. Local authorities are failing to provide clean water, the central government cannot restock public hospitals, and sadly many lives have been lost due to the crises besetting the country.
Zimbabwe is also facing erratic fuel supplies which will again dampen the merriness of the festive season that many have traditionally looked up to as a sundowner to the year. After months of reports that negotiations to end the current political impasse would begin, Zimbabwe appears to be sliding back to despair.
Taking this haggard-looking attitude into the New Year will affect the country’s productivity as well as put it on a slippery slope. Zimbabwe cannot continue to be in an election mode forever. It’s the politics stupid!