ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday warned that the ruling party risks losing the confidence of the electorate in the next elections if the current factional fights are allowed to continue unabated.
In a statement, Gumbo said instead of fighting for posts, party officials should refocus their energy on reviving the economy and rescue millions of Zimbabweans who are struggling to make ends meet due to the depressed economic environment.
“The ugly truth is that many of our people are struggling to make ends meet, as the current economic climate, exacerbated by years of damaging economic sanctions, takes its toll,” he said.
“A sizeable number of our young people are unemployed and many families are desperately concerned about their general welfare.
“The fact is that we are really faced with a desperate situation that calls for an urgent change of priorities.”
Gumbo accused those agitating for posts as being selfish, insensitive and on the wrong side of history.
“Anyone who seeks to push personal and factional interests at a time like this, where millions of our people are suffering and many investors are sitting on the fence pursuing a wait-and-see-approach, is not only selfish, insensitive and on the wrong side of history, but is also tarnishing the good name of the party and drawing unnecessary hatred towards the same,” he said.
“This is not only detrimental to our future electoral prospects, but has the real danger of tarnishing President (Robert) Mugabe’s otherwise splendid reputation and legacy.”
Top Zanu PF officials have in the past few weeks been fiercely fighting each other, along factional lines, as the dates for the party’s elective congress draw near.
“It is absolutely critical that we work towards the accelerated implementation of ZimAsset and desist from any negative behaviour to ensure the preservation of the good name and record of Zanu PF – in word and in practice,” Gumbo said.
The party has been divided into two warring camps, as factions led by Vice-President Joice and Justice Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa jostle to succeed Mugabe, who turns 91 next February. Tensions boiled over last month with the entry of Mugabe’s wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe, into the political scene, after she was nominated to lead the Women’s League.
In her whirlwind two week long provincial tours, Grace dressed down Mujuru, accusing her of fanning factionalism, corruption and plotting to topple Mugabe. She called for Mujuru’s immediate resignation.
Gumbo said the internal fights and neglect of the economy had the potential of destroying the party and Mugabe’s legacy that had shown a steadfast desire to improve the lives of the generality of Zimbabweans.
“Equally, the business community has borne the brunt of the current economic climate due to the present liquidity challenges,” he said. “Our industries are performing below par. We can and we should turn around the situation for the better.
“And that is why as a party we really must go out of our way to ensure that we create a favourable environment of peace, unity and development that allows for our economy to grow and for investors to come to Zimbabwe with confidence and conviction.”
Several companies have closed shop since Zanu PF won last year’s harmonised elections, throwing thousands of workers into the streets.
According to figures supplied by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the majority of the country’s population is now surviving on less than a dollar a day, as the economy tumbles.