ZANU PF Bulawayo Province has invited economic and industry cluster ministries run by the MDC formations to a meeting to deliberate on ways of reviving the city’s collapsed industrial sector.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
The planned meeting is being organised by Zanu PF’s commissariat department, but it has been dismissed as a mere electioneering gimmick aimed at reviving the party’s electoral fortunes in a city where it has failed to win a single parliamentary seat since 2000.
However, Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Killian Sibanda on Wednesday denied the planned meeting was part of an election campaign.
“Zanu PF has never capitalised on the plight of the suffering people to campaign,” said Sibanda. “We have always been with the people during and after any elections. No one is to blame for the current situation, therefore we are not campaigning. Elections will come and go, but grievances will remain.”
Sibanda said the engagement is part of a broader party strategy of addressing the economic plight of the city, which was once the country’s industrial hub, as the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund had failed to “revive a single firm” since the available money is inadequate.
MDC Bulawayo spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said the move was a Zanu PF ploy to appear as if it has the interests of industry in Bulawayo at heart.
“It’s just crocodile tears,” said Ndlovu. “In fact, they should tell the people that industries began collapsing during the price control era under their very own minister Obert Mpofu (who was in charge of industry and commerce). My boss (Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube) will certainly not attend such a kangaroo court so people should not take the meeting seriously,” Ndlovu said.
Ncube has previously indicated that close to 100 companies have closed shop in Bulawayo rendering more than 20 000 people jobless.