Preparations for Zanu-PF’s sixth congress, which will be held in December, are under way and the indications are that the cash-strapped party will turn to farmers and companies to fund the event.
Eight subcommittees, dominated by Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction, have been established to prepare for the congress, giving the faction a big advantage. Seven are chaired by Mujuru sympathisers. The eighth, the documentation and legal subcommittee, is headed by the party’s secretary for legal affairs, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who leads another faction that is also positioning itself to take over from President Robert Mugabe.
Zanu-PF’s national co-ordinating committee, chaired by national chairperson and vice-presidential hopeful, Simon Khaya Moyo, also a key Mujuru ally, is overseeing the preparations and will be assisted by the subcommittees.
The party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, who is campaigning for the national chairperson’s position, will head the subcommittee charged with raising funds and the party’s political commissar, Webster Shamu, is in charge of the organising department.
The party’s secretary for national security, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, will chair the security and accreditation subcommittee and the party spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, will handle the information subcommittee, with the party’s secretary of transport and welfare, Nicholas Goche, overseeing transport and welfare matters.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa will be in charge of the health subcommittee and politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu will be in charge of entertainment.
Mutasa, Shamu, Sekeramayi, Gumbo, Goche, Parirenyatwa and Ndlovu are all fighting in Mujuru’s corner.
A senior politburo member said that the party was confident that the congress would be a success, despite the party’s serious financial problems, which have resulted in its employees going for months without salaries.
Drama and infighting
“The funds are not there for now but that is not an issue of concern. The issue of concern will be how the party will hold with the expected hotting up of the succession race as the congress draws nearer. We saw a lot of drama and infighting when the youths and women held their conferences last month but, believe me, these are likely to pale into insignificance with what we will see in the next few months,” he said.
“On funds, the plan is that senior party officials, companies operating in Zimbabwe and those who have benefited from our empowerment programmes, such as farmers, will play their part. We normally ask well-wishers to assist and this year will be no different.
“We also target specific individuals and companies for specific products. For example, we can approach Bakers Inn and Lobel’s to assist with bread, Colcom to assist with meat, our farmers to assist with vegetables and meat, and so on. So we are confident we will raise enough resources because most companies we approach normally co-operate.”
An executive of a company that normally donates food for Zanu-PF conferences, congresses and Mugabe’s birthday celebrations said his company did it out of fear.
“It’s difficult to resist once a request comes in. I know of many companies which have assisted because of fear, either of being indiginised or being targeted one way or another. We fall in the same bracket; sometimes it is better to be in the good books of those in authority,” said the official.
Before the women’s league conference in August, companies and individuals jostled among themselves to donate food hampers for delegates after Mugabe publicly chided top party officials for failing to mobilise sufficient resources for the youth league conference.
Mugabe’s family donated 100 tonnes of maize, 30 cattle, and milk from his Gushungo dairy farm for the youth conference.
Mujuru donated 30 tonnes of maize, 3?500 T-shirts, bread, eggs and rice, and Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, business mogul Phillip Chiyangwa and Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, donated five animals each to the women’s conference.
Two other senior Zanu-PF officials said, although the Mujuru camp was in charge of congress preparations, it did not mean they would have their way, because Mugabe and the politburo were expected to take a keen interest in proceedings.
“It does give her an advantage but the reason her people are in charge is that she has the most [supporters] in the politburo and also controls crucial positions,” said one. “She also controls other key organs of the party, but that does not mean she will have her way come congress.”
“Mugabe takes a keen interest and all the decisions will pass through the politburo, so in the end the whole politburo will play a part.
“Already there are plans to neutralise her power and that is the reason why Mnangagwa has proposed that elections are held by secret ballot. This is because he wants party officials to be able to vote freely without fearing reprisals from party bigwigs, most of whom are siding with Mujuru, at the moment,” the other official said.