Home » Governance » Zanu-PF Springs Surprises With ‘Tent City’

TERMS this writer loathes and consider dirty have taken centre stage and sapped the energy out of us all. “Factionalismfactions” are everywhere and with each passing day, we wonder at whatever happened to: “peace begins with me peace begins with you peace begins with us all.”

For, people relate to peace since it gives a sense of allegiance to family, party and country unlike factionalism which is a threat to the existence of these institutions.

Some have failed to relate to the dangers posed by the Movement for Democratic Change, while others would quickly want to heap blame on President Mugabe for failing to manage the succession issue. The first time the succession issue was raised with this writer was in October 1996.

Like factionalism, it was dirty and alien. This writer was not in denial that at some point, President Mugabe would have a successor, but looking back now, it seems as though succession was an issue even before his ascendency to that top leadership position.

However, with Zanu-PF’s 6th National People’s Congress underway, there are lighter moments we can glean as the ruling party charts its path into the future. An objective introspection will show that so much was being taken for granted.

The lessons of the liberation struggle had been lost with some openly showing us that it was a liberation war waged to enrich themselves and their families while the many, who also fought in that war lived on bread crumbs.

As President Mugabe told the new war veterans leadership and service chiefs on Tuesday, principled leadership has been compromised — throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Notwithstanding the squabbles, Zanu-PF showed that it has the capacity to transform itself, even under immense pressure and challenges. Since Independence, Zanu-PF’s conferences and congresses have been held at various venues around the country, but the 2014

Congress has proved that even as the chasm within the party was growing wider, something new was also emerging, for the Congress venue is a “Tent City” at the Harare Civic Grounds behind the Harare International Conference Centre.

The Tent City, complete with lighting, road and telecommunication networks, air conditioning, parking lots and capable of accommodating more than 12 000 people and hosting other events says a lot about Zanu-PF, which is the only political party that managed to construct its own headquarters, whose hall is hired out for church and wedding events even by non-Zanu-PF supporters.

A few weeks ago, the Tent City location was an empty space used by private security companies for all and sundry activities. Some churches also held their Saturday and Sunday services there, with one church conducting a crusade days before the Rooney’s Hire Services personnel started to erect the different types of tents — some in pristine white colour and others off white.

You can’t help but see the irony and symbolism surrounding the Tent City. Unless you are a nomadic people, tents are not permanent structures, but they are a starting point to something. Thus promises on the construction of the much-awaited civic centre have already been made.

But the real question is how a supposedly fractured Zanu-PF could spring such a surprise? It does not add up, because although this writer passes through this venue every morning and evening, it never occurred to her that focused minds and will power can actually bring out something so magnificent, meaning that as a nation we are capable of rising above where we are — politics or no politics.

In addition, people who have known the ins and outs of Zanu-PF since its formation, realise that the ruling party is good at surprising itself and everyone else including those bent on upstaging it. And, the Tent City is one such example.

You can never claim to know and understand the goings-on in Zanu-PF party unless you realise that it is capable of surprising you.

This newness has many implications, which people have ignored as attention has largely been focused on the whom and why in leadership positions. People also forgot that leadership is built on a sound foundation.

Prophet Isaiah in the bible, chapter 43:16-21 (NIV) says: “This is what the Lord says — He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: ‘Forget the former things do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.'”

Facts are stubborn. This new thing is resonating in our midst. Doomsayers might not like it, but it is there for all to see!

A bit of research showed that the last time the area was used when thousands attended the event was when American televangelist Joyce Meyer came for her Festival of Life Conference in June 2010.

This was after the formation of the inclusive Government and she paid courtesy calls on Vice President Joice Mujuru, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.

At this very location where the Tent City is, Mr Tsvangirai presented his family members including estranged wife Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo to Joyce Meyer and Zimbabweans watching the event on ZTV. This is why I pointed out that tents are not permanent structures because Tsvangirai and Locadia never became permanent items. New things came in each of their lives. And MDC has become something else.

Joyce Meyer’s message to Zimbabwe was instructive and spoke into what we see Zanu-PF aspiring to achieve: “It is time again Zimbabwe starts pouring into other nations, see yourselves as givers, not takers. Start talking positively, saying Zimbabwe has renewed its status as the breadbasket of Africa. The potential in Zimbabwe for it to be a success is great. Concentrate on the future, extend love to others, forgive, work in unity and do not be pulled down by the past.”

This dovetails with the Congress theme: “Accelerated Implementation of Zim-Asset.” Will all those congregating at the Tent City rise to the occasion by fast-tracking the policy nuggets contained in the Zim-Asset blueprint?

Finally, Zanu-PF’s critics should realise that it does not live in isolation. As President Mugabe was addressing war veterans and service chiefs, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was addressing the nation after firing two cabinet ministers for plotting a coup d’etat.

According to media reports, Netanyahu told the people: “I turn to you, the citizens of Israel, this evening because under the current situation, from within the current government, it is impossible to lead a state. My responsibility as Prime Minister is to do that. To preserve security, to develop the economy, to lower the cost of living — to take care of you, the citizens of Israel . . . Unlike its predecessor, the current government, from the day of its inception, was a contrarian government,” he said.

“It was forced on me because the results of the election — a simple reason– meant that a ruling government under my leadership did not receive enough seats. Maybe because of other reasons, this government had friction and directional differences. It behaved under threats and ultimatums.”

Source : The Herald