Saturday, February 13, 2016

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Zanu-PF Must Not Suffer Mischief
February 12, 2016
Opinion & Analysis
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe addresses thousands of zanu-pf supporters ahead of zanu-pf’s first Politburo meeting for 2016 at the revolutionary party’s national headquarters in Harare on Wednesday

ON Wednesday, the ruling Zanu-PF party had a marathon 10-hour meeting of the Politburo where various issues were discussed, although the subject of factionalism continues to hog the limelight and dominate discussions.

It was feared that there would be a showdown of massive proportions at the indaba, and some people even went on to speculate that heads would roll.

But the meeting started and ended well with the party intact and with President Mugabe once again playing the conductor of the grand orchestra, as he guided his lieutenants on the path of unity. He, like everyone of goodwill, knows that for the country to succeed, unity is paramount and that the ruling party must stay focused.

It is the best hope of the electorate for the revolutionary party to do that, as per mandate the people gave Zanu-PF in 2013. In an environment of peace and unity, development will flow, and this is why the motto of the party is instructive.

Zanu-PF, as the ruling party and according to its tradition, informs Government, setting the agenda and trajectory for the country.

It is the revolutionary party that brought independence and game changers such as the land reform and indigenisation programmes.

The party rode on its 2013 winning manifesto which had the thematic pillars of Indigenisation, Empowerment, Development and Creating Empowerment; to give the nation Zim-Asset, which was fine-tuned and distilled into the 10-Point Plan for Economic Growth last August.

Zanu-PF has always been steadfast in putting the people first and making sure that their interests are protected and aspirations pursued.

It is rather unseemly and strange that in recent times, the revolutionary party has been characterised by everything that is antithetical to the espousals of its motto.

As we speak, factionalism has become a watchword for Zanu-PF, defeating organisational and unity of purpose, much worse raising fears that the party may as well experience a dangerous schism or gradual weakening.

Development — economic advancement of the country which the party should champion — has apparently taken a back seat.

In the run up to Wednesday’s crunch meeting, the dominating discourse had been around factionalism — as if factionalism has assumed a life of its own, and certain characters became pied pipers of a dangerous movement and narrative.

Officials from the party have been tearing each other in the newspapers and others have taken a particular notoriety for abusing social media to fight their party rivals.

The verbal exchanges have been anything from the un-comradely and unpalatable right down to the ridiculous. The world has been watching the soap opera and screaming matches between comrades. Rivals have been rubbing their hands in glee — and President Mugabe warned not to give that pleasure, that ray of hope to the moribund opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Ordinary people have been asking, “Whither the ruling party?”

It has to be noted that while posing a real and present danger to the stability of the ruling party, factionalism and the continued infighting will have serious and deleterious effects on the economic fortunes of our country.

What messages are we sending to investors such as China and Russia that have so favoured us with cooperation in the mould of mega deals?

Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian billionaire, was here to invest. Many are waiting by the gate.

Now, how are these friends and potential investors going to take us seriously when we appear to be a country on the brink?

This makes a strong case for the proposition that Zanu-PF factionalism is a matter of national concern. In fact, it is. President Mugabe last year pointed out that factionalism had seeped to the ranks of the national security establishment, which is scary.

However, we insist it is within the power of the ruling party to halt factionalism and deal with the few mischief-makers that have stood out like sore thumbs.

Mischief makers should not be allowed to divert attention from the bread and butter issues so well captured by Zim-Asset.

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