PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday afternoon hosted a function at State House “to mark the first anniversary of Zanu PF’s resounding victory” in the July 31 general elections held last year, ending an acrimonious four-year coalition government.
Editors Memo with Stewart Chabwinja
Invitees, according to Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, included politburo members, MPs, Harare leadership and captains of industry, with leading local musicians providing entertainment.
A live blog showed pictures of who-is-who among the Zanu PF political elite, some in their finery. In his speech, Mugabe took potshots at the usual suspects including the opposition, the defunct unity government and the West.
Zanu PF has much cause to celebrate given its remarkable comeback from its 2008 harmonised elections debacle in which it lost its parliamentary majority to the opposition, while MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe, but fell shy of the requisite majority.
Last year the party rebounded with an over two-thirds majority in parliament, while Mugabe triumphed after clinching 61% in the presidential vote.
It is trite to point out the poll was marred by various glaring irregularities which however did not deter the region and continent at large from giving the poll a pass mark, while the West has been less charitable, insisting the poll lacked legitimacy.
There is however general, in some quarters reluctant, consensus that the country must move on and rebuild after more than a decade in the economic doldrums that have condemned the majority to grinding poverty. But the post-election narrative has overwhelmingly been a tale of a resurgent economic crunch, putting paid to Zanu PF’s promises of economic revival.
It is in the context of continued, some would say mounting, pauperisation of the majority that the wining, dining and dancing to local music at State House was never going to cascade beyond the property’s perimeter and onto the streets.
Victory for victory’s sake is meaningless: Zimbabweans are more interested in the deliverables linked to the poll triumph and Zanu PF would be first to admit they have been too long in coming.
While Zanu PF was celebrating the victory it claims “condemned MDC formations to the political dustbins”, more and more are literally living off dustbins as poverty deepens.
Zanu PF’s victory has in fact erased some of the meagre gains recorded during the unity government.
Despite lampooning the unity government as a three-headed creature weighed down by incoherence and disparate interests, Zanu PF has so far largely failed to deliver on sugar-coated promises because of self-same contradictions.
Too often, there have been contradictory statements from ministers, especially on economic issues, suggesting not all cabinet hands are on deck.
As once again stressed, this time by European Union head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia, Zimbabwe needs to do more to attract elusive foreign direct investment as the environment is not yet conducive, but enough has been said on the matter, as is the case with endemic corruption.
Until Zimbabweans’ livelihoods start improving, they are likely to take Mugabe’s recent claims that the economy is recovering with a large pinch of salt, to put it politely.
So, as Zanu PF heavyweights made merry and raised their glasses to toast their elections victory, they would have done well to ponder the words of a Zimbabwean who tweeted: “Pity the economy ain’t partying with you!”