MDC Pushing For UN intervention – Zanu PF

ZANU PF’s central committee has accused the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC of refusing to “work towards the resolution of the country’s challenges”, hoping that the United Nations will intervene and call for fresh elections.

The accusations were made in a report tabled yesterday at the beginning of Zanu PF’s three-day national conference in Bindura.

Zanu PF and the two MDC formations signed a unity government deal on September 15, but it is yet to be consummated because Tsvangirai is insisting on equitable power-sharing, arguing that his party cannot be a junior partner in the new administration.

“At present, MDC-T has been reluctant to positively participate and contribute towards the resolution of the country’s challenges,” read the central committee report. “By so doing, the opposition hopes that a way might be found calling for a United Nations-supervised general election.”

Zanu PF averred that the strategy was being complemented by opposition sympathisers in the education and health delivery services currently on strike.

“For health delivery service workers, the industrial action is being undertaken at a time when the country is facing cholera,” the report said. “The cholera outbreak has been hyped to attract the international attention which has culminated in the attempted assessment mission by a delegation comprising former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, former US president Jimmy Carter and Gracia Machael.”

The committee blasted unnamed Western countries for allegedly financing Sadc member states to strain diplomatic relations with Harare. Botswana has been highly critical of President Robert Mugabe’s government after his controversial victory in the June 27 one-man presidential run-off poll.

President Ian Khama said his country did not recognise Mugabe as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe and the ex-army general vowed to boycott all Sadc Summits the 84-year-old leader will attend.

Zanu PF, in the report, claimed that the country’s economic problems were a result of illegally imposed sanctions, which the MDC-T and its associated civil societies advocated.

“The effects of economic sanctions manifest themselves as foreign currency shortages, contracting industrial capacity to manufacture, high levels of unemployment, hyperinflationary rate, crumbling health and education delivery systems and loss of tradition markets such as the European Union,” the report added.

Turning to the state of the party, the central committee said factionalism was still rife in Zanu PF and was affecting at least five provinces.

“The party has been experiencing factionalism within its ranks for a long time but these came to the fore when two politburo members, namely Dr Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa, defected from the party to launch the Mavambo project,” the committee said. “The effects of their defection are still posing a serious threat to the party.”

The central committee said national chairman John Nkomo’s office was instructed to set aside outstanding disciplinary cases and lift suspensions on members to promote unity and harmony before the March 29 harmonised elections.

Beneficiaries of the pardon were former party provincial chairpersons linked to the controversial Tsholotsho meeting of November 2004, allegedly meant to re-arrange the Zanu PF presidium: July Moyo, Jacob Mudenda, Mike Madiro, Themba Ncube and Jabulani Sibanda.  In the same report, Zanu PF’s legal department said it had financially assisted party supporters “caught up in cross fire of election-related violence” in the countdown to the June 27 run-off.

Turning to agriculture, the central committee recommended the seizure of idle farms, most of them grabbed by government officials and Zanu PF supporters during the violent 2000 land invasions.
“Repossess plots with evidence of gross under utilisation and re-offer the same plots to those on the waiting list,” the committee urged.

It also blamed “unviable prices” for agricultural produce, unavailability of inputs, poor planning and deteriorating infrastructure for declining productivity in the sector despite quasi-fiscal interventions by the central bank.

Government’s lethargic approach in announcing prices for bulk agricultural produce has often been blamed by commercial farmers.

The central committee said an unattractive foreign exchange policy and Reserve Bank delays in paying an excess of US$30 million owed to gold miners could result in a 10% decline in production in the mining sector.

“Therefore, to salvage the situation, it is urgent that viability be restored through adoption of a viable exchange regime,” the report recommended.

Zanu PF also blamed disorganisation and lack of funds on its proxy labour union, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), for failing to hoodwink impoverished workers to support government policies widely criticised for the unprecedented economic meltdown.

 
Instead, the committee credited the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for being a “dominant” labour federation.

“Due to organisational and funding shortcomings, the ZFTU has failed to make a significant impact on the labour market,” the report stated. “Concomitant with the articulation of such an ideology, the party needs to develop a strategy for organising the worker into structures and programmes that are effective not only in representing worker interests, but also aligning with labour in a practical way.”    

The central committee also recommended government to effect a “systematic remuneration criterion” for teachers, amid fears that most government schools could fail to open in January.

So desperate is the mass emigration of qualified teachers that government re-hired 488 retired teachers to ameliorate the brain drain to cover for an estimated 15 000 teachers that have fled the harsh economic environment.

The Zanu PF decision-making body outside congress also proposed the establishment of a “Consolidated Educational Fund” for intern teachers.

The committee said information and communication technology equipment donated by Mugabe to improve computer literacy at rural schools remained unused due to lack of electricity.

Mugabe is today expected to officially open the conference to be attended by over 5 000 Zanu PF members drawn from the party’s district and provincial executives, central committee, politburo and national consultative members, youths and women’s leagues.

BY BERNARD MPOFU