THE ruling Zanu PF today gathers for the official opening of its annual conference to discuss policy issues, the state of the party and the economy, as well as reflect on the year coming to an end amid serious internal strife and economic implosion.
Under normal circumstances, Zanu PF members and Zimbabweans in general should be holding their breath, waiting anxiously for the end of the annual indaba in Victoria Falls as its outcome might have a positive impact on the nation. In this case, everybody, including President Robert Mugabe, his party officials and supporters, know only too well that the meeting will not produce much.
In fact, expect little or nothing from the Zanu PF talk shop; a gathering for unproductive dialogue rather than action.
Exhausted from imagining a distant future that could be further delayed five years or more if Mugabe makes it and stands for re-election in 2018, Zimbabweans no longer want to even predict the coming week. So people focus on this minute, on an immediacy that doesn’t allow them to raise their sights to look ahead. People live in the moment. For far too long, national leaders made them dream of a bright future which only exists in their vacuous speeches and woolgathering promises.
Still, Mugabe and his party are tireless when it comes to making false assurances. Now they are talking about ZimAsset and Chinese deals, which are largely wishful thinking and pie in the sky. ZimAsset is dead in the water, while the Chinese deals are long-term projects that on their own can’t fix macro-economic problems, job creation and growth to address unemployment and poverty.
Thus the conference is marked by this scepticism and even cynicism towards the future. Not surprising then, there are low expectations regarding the meeting. Most people, pessimists, say this isn’t going to change anything, while optimists think there is hope that this will be the last real chance for Mugabe and his failed generation to show that they are not really hopeless liabilities to the nation.
Since its controversial July 2013 election victory, Zanu PF has failed to secure broad-based legitimacy for Mugabe, normalise external relations and fix the economy. It has also miserably failed to fulfil its electoral promises, including creating two million jobs by 2018.
Instead, Mugabe and his government has presided over massive company closures and job losses, fuelling de-industrialisation and unemployment. The situation is far worse than it was under the inclusive government between 2009 and 2013.
More than two years since the general elections, the country faces multiple social and economic problems largely spawned by endemic governance failures and compounded by debilitating ruling party succession power struggles.
One would expect in Victoria Falls, Zanu PF, which can’t justify re-election in progressive societies under the situation, would take time to reflect and tackle mounting internal and national problems to restore hope to millions of suffering Zimbabweans, but the truth is that there is lack of political will and capacity to resolve the difficulties confronting this nation, including pressing bread and butter issues.