Victoria Falls had a major boost in its economic activities as it hosted the entire crème de la crème of Zanu PF’s political establishment.
Party politicians, invited guests from so-called sister parties and smitten local praise singers of all descriptions thronged the tourist attraction for the party’s 15th national conference.
There was the usual pomp and ceremony among the delegates, most of whom were adorned in party regalia. The party lived to its standard of amassing as many delegates as possible, either through some form of material inducement or through plain coercive negotiations. Most delegates were bussed in from all corners of the country, while a fortunate few were “planed” from Harare.
The “bussing” and “planing” of delegates were all in line with the party’s obsession with quantity rather than quality.
Nobody doubted that most delegates were staunch Zanu PF supporters. Everyone who mattered was there, the State President and first secretary of Zanu PF Robert Mugabe was there, his two Vice-Presidents were there and not to be outdone, his graceful wife was there too, either by default as the First Lady as well as chairperson of Zanu PF Women’s League, or purely by public demand due to her current status of latent leader of the G40 faction.
The unknown stood shoulder to shoulder with high-ranking party stalwarts. In the eyes of observers, the gathering gave some hope, the hope that Zanu PF will for once name the elephant in the room. Surely, the person on the street had hope that this conference was going to be the one that settles all the economic challenges and also one that offers a solution to the succession dilemma.
The mechanisms or logistics employed in transporting the delegates to the resort town revealed one fundamental flaw in the way Zanu PF operates, the party is ready to lavish the few at the expense of the majority.
Naturally the few that are treated as kings and queens become inextricably loyal to their benefactor and would do anything to maintain the status quo. A remark attributed to Richard Moyo, the Matebeleland North Provincial chairperson sums up the extent of the symbiotic relationship between greed and morale bankruptcy.
Moyo could not hide his excitement while delivering a welcome address to the delegates. He expressed his gratitude towards Mugabe for affording members of the top brass an opportunity to fly to Victoria Falls. Moyo found it perfectly appropriate to reveal that some of the members were flying for the first time. Naturally the first timers will remain indebted to Mugabe for this benevolence and would repay the gesture with their own blood or with the blood of others.
As the conference proceeded, a number of revelations came into light. The main revelation was the extent of the internal divisions. The tension among the named and unnamed belligerents in the war of succession was so thick that an electric saw would struggle cutting through it. Men and women with different succession agendas could not mix freely. Mugabe had to literally beg his followers to resist the urge to belong to one faction or the other. He was careful not to ruffle the feathers of people closest and dearest to him. He avoided naming names and pointing fingers. For some reason, he found it easy to point at the general direction of the security institutions, as he blamed them for dabbling in divisive succession manoeuvres.
The revelation by Mugabe that the police, the army and covert operations were doing part-time work in party politics was not
anything new. Opposition parties had for a long time advocated for reforms within the security sector and Mugabe had been vehement in his rejections. At the time Mugabe was happy that members of the security sector were actively propping up his waning fortunes.
In pouring out his dismay at the involvement of the security sector in dirty succession skirmishes, Mugabe was only reminding Zimbabweans what they already knew. If Mugabe had intended this as a shocking revelation, he failed dismally. The people knew that the army, the police and the secret service worked for Zanu PF. When Zanu PF started fracturing in its internal constitution, the people were never in doubt that the security forces will be divided on factional lines as well.
The President’s mention of the involvement of the security sector in factional wars only provided more firepower to the “we told you so” brigade. The notable revelation is that now Mugabe is afraid of his very trusted armed gangsters. He is afraid of his army, police and secret service. He is scared of his shadows and his living space. He is frightened by everything around him.
Of all things said and done during the conference, the nation benefitted from one revelation; that Zanu PF is in disarray and only drastic processes such as nuclear fusion can save the party. Sadly, physics informs that nuclear fusion releases a lot of energy that is too hot to handle.
lMasola waDabudabu writes in his personal capacity.