The party earlier this month indicated that it needed US$5 million to hold the congress, which was scheduled to be held at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) from December 8 to 13.
Zanu PF deputy spokesperson, Ephraim Masawi, yesterday confirmed the postponement of the congress but could not give new dates and referred further questions to the party’s national chairman, John Nkomo.
“The decision to postpone the conference is an internal matter but Nkomo can give you details on when the congress is likely to be held,” Masawi said.
Nkomo was not responding to calls on his mobile but on Wednesday he told the state media that the congress had been postponed because the conference venue was booked by another organisation.
He said the party’s leadership would meet to decide the new dates for the congress.
“We will have to consult the party’s principals on the new dates because the venue of the conference, the Harare International Conference Centre, is already occupied,” said Nkomo adding that the congress would still be held in December.
Enquiries at the HICC revealed that the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has booked the entire space at the HICC from December 8 to 10 for an exhibition.
Zanu PF sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the party was struggling to raise the money required to bring in delegates from all the country’s 10 provinces.
“Provinces have not managed to raise enough money and the reason for postponing the congress is to allow the party to raise the money,” one of the sources said. “In the past the money would just come from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), but there is no money to print this time around.”
The source said the congress was being held in Harare to cut travel costs for the delegates.
“There are no Zupco buses to commandeer this time around and if all the delegates were to connect from Harare to any other venue, it would have been very expensive. Also the HICC is not the best venue for a Zanu PF congress but there is no choice,” the source added.
Zanu PF is known for its extravagant partying at congresses.
At last year’s annual conference in Bindura, more than 124 cattle, 81 goats, 19 pigs, kudus and thousands of chickens were slaughtered while tonnes of rice were sourced to feed delegates.
There have been increasing reports in Mashonaland West province and areas such as Bikita, Gutu, Zaka, Mwenezi, Zvishavane and Mberengwa of teachers and villagers being forced to “donate” towards the hosting of the congress.
The reports indicate that teachers were being asked to pay US$1 each, while villagers were being forced to give a bucket of maize a homestead.
The Zanu PF congress is held after every five years and is expected to elect a new leadership.
President Mugabe and his deputy Joice Mujuru have been assured of retaining their positions while Nkomo is set to become the second vice-president, replacing the late Joseph Msika.
The post of national chairperson will go to Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa.