TWO months after the December watershed congress where the ruling ZANU-PF party underwent its most vicious power struggle that led to the exclusion from its top brass of several senior party leaders who are celebrated war-time luminaries, the revolutionary party appears still stuck in a rut.
Left out in the cold were former vice president Joice Mujuru, former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former party spokesman Rugare Gumbo (pictured) among many others.
The sweeping changes in the top echelons of ZANU-PF saw the elevation of Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Women’s League secretary Grace Mugabe.
The new ZANU-PF top brass has hit the ground running, seeking to consolidate its grip on party affairs.
All those perceived to be opposed to the change of guard in the ruling party are being dealt a heavy hand.
The general population is concerned that those in the driving seat are now more concerned with entrenching their positions as opposed to tackling head-on the myriad of economic challenges that plague the nation.
A liquidity crunch continues unabated, instability in the banking sector appears to be spreading fast after the closure of Allied Bank last month and now Tetrad Bank appears to be on the brink.
Discontent over the irregular salary payments to the public servants by their employer is rising, with Treasury chief Patrick Chinamasa admitting it was a mistake to splash out on bonuses last November when companies were struggling to make ends meet.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has already warned of a tougher year ahead even as Treasury has cut its budget forecast from US$4,1 billion announced last November to US$3,5 billion — an admission that revenue sources continue to dry up.
But surprisingly the alarm bells appear not to be ringing in the corridors of power.
At the top of their to-do-list, judging by the statements and sentiments coming out of the ZANU-PF leadership is the consolidation of their powerbase.
All the guns have been targeted at Mutasa who is fighting to reverse the outcome of the December 2014 congress.
Mutasa’s political future now lies in the hands of the disciplinary committee that has been constituted under President Robert Mugabe’s instruction.
Rashweat Mukundu, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said the ZANU-PF leadership had been out of sorts since the congress.
“One does not get a sense of a coherent approach to government business…. because of factional fights, no minister is taking leadership,” said Mukundu.
Since beginning of the year, Cabinet sat for the first time last Thursday owing to the absence of President Mugabe who was away on vacation in Singapore, after which he travelled to Zambia for the inauguration of President Edgar Lungu, before leaving for Ethiopia for the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa.
ZANU-PF’s approach to the myriad of issues facing the country leaves more questions than answers as to whether the party has what it takes to solve the conundrum faced by ordinary Zimbabweans.
At the centre of the latest controversy is Mphoko, who among other things talked down on vendors saying that he did not view it as a worthy enterprise. The comments have not only sparked a backlash, but also deeply exposed the disconnect that exists between the ZANU-PF leadership and the ordinary man on the street.
Sten Zvorwadza, the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe chairman, said the boom in the vending business over the years was a result of the failure by the ZANU-PF government to fulfil its promise of jobs under the economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
“If people were formally employed, would we have such high number of vendors? VP Mphoko and Ignatious Chombo should be reminded that Zimbabweans both young and old are into vending not by choice, but simply because the country has the highest and most embarrassing unemployment rate in the world,” he said. – FinGaz