BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA/BLESSED MHLANGA/ANDREW KUNAMBURA/BRIDGET MANANAVIRE
The just-ended Zanu PF annual conference was an exhibition of the abuse of state resources and a time to feast for the ruling party elites and their foot soldiers.
Many poor villagers from Goromonzi in Mashonaland East where the annual gathering was held, were left green with envy as the powerful sashayed into the dusty outpost in their latest SUVs.
Ministers and Zanu PF politburo members were being driven to the conference from Harare in their government issued fuel guzzling Landcruiser V8s.
They arrived in snaking convoys mainly composed of luxury cars.
The impact of the conference was felt as far as Harare and surrounding towns as Zanu PF delegates were being given preferential treatment at fuel stations, while ordinary motorists had to endure long queues.
The ordinary ruling party members arrived aboard the recently imported Zupco buses, leaving urban commuters stranded.
Dozens of the new buses decorated the parking lot outside the conference venue — Goromonzi High School — between Thursday and yesterday.
Some of the buses were diverted from as far as Chiredzi in the Lowveld. The government imported the buses from Belarus and South Africa in what it said was an aggressive effort to recapitalise the ailing Zupco.
Zupco collapsed during the Robert Mugabe era because of unchecked corruption and political interference, which saw its buses being routinely deployed to ferry people to Zanu PF events.
At the conference venue, opulence was writ large. Business-people aligned to Zanu PF drove top-of-the-range vehicles and occasionally flashed their expensive mobile phones.
The delegates even had the luxury of eating potato chips, with each party members being given a packet that costs $17.
This means that Zanu PF could have splashed as much as $119 000 on the snacks alone per day for at least 7 000 people.
Delegates enjoyed three meals per day with lunch being served at the venue. Zanu PF sourced close to 70 beasts that were slaughtered at a nearby farm.
When it came to conference deliberations, the well-fed delegates appeared to endorse everything that was tabled before them without any questions.
Lawyer Prayers Chitsa said the Zanu PF conference was a mere ritual where robust debate was taboo.
“It’s a cult. It’s either you stay in by agreeing with everything, you keep your wealth, small farming land or vending stall or disagree and lose everything,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police band provided entertainment with songs that mainly showered praises on President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zanu is reeling from a $19 million debt as party members are struggling to pay their subscriptions.