By Criswell Chisango
Chinhoyi, December 13, 2013 – The ruling Zanu PF party has been hit hard by the current cash crunch forcing it to reduce its national conference to two days.
The Zanu PF national conferences have in previous years been held over five days where the party leaders and supporters feast while ordinary Zimbabweans grapple with hunger.
But things appeared to have turned for the worst this year as the party has slashed the conference days to two from Friday to Saturday.
Party insiders told radio VOP that it was ‘’unusual for the ruling party’’ annual conferences to be reduced to two days and without the glitter of a lavish and pompous lifestyle.
“We were expecting more people and more food but there have been poor attendances since Monday when it was due to start. Cash is generally affecting the smooth running of the event. Few people who turned up are confused as senior officials started arriving on Thursday and there is a low profile of the event,’’ said a delegate from Chegutu who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.
Some buses hired for the event had few people using them and some pulled out at the last minute.
One party supporter in Karoi said; “C and G company pulled one of its buses as there were no people to be ferried to Chinhoyi. Some supporters preferred using personal l cars but generally there is no vigor associated with such public gatherings by Zanu PF party supporters.”
On Thursday several party supporters were battling to be accredited for the event at Chinhoyi University of Technology where security was beefed up for the past two weeks after the town was spruced up in preparation for the event.
“Accreditation is very slow and the officials worked for three hours only and we do not know if the paperwork will be done for us to hear President Robert Mugabe speaking,” said a youth member identified as Dickson from Midlands.
However, party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo denied that the party had suffered from the obtaining cash crunch to feed its supporters during the two day event.
“It is true that the conference should have started on 10 December but we postponed it after President Robert Mugabe joined several world leaders during the late Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa. We planned everything that is going on according to our plans,” said Gumbo.
The ruling party’s conference is held under a dark cloud of uncertainty over the succession battle pitting Justice Minister Emerson Mngangagwa whose camp was whitewashed by the camp aligned to Vice President Joice Mujuru during the provincial elections held two week ago.
Both camps deny that they are positioning themselves to take over from Mugabe. Addressing his party’s central committee meeting on Thursday, Mugabe hit out at his lieutenants over factionalism and for engaging in unauthorised discussions with foreign envoys.