By Tichaona Sibanda
07 December 2012
Robert Mugabe will use his annual party conference in Gweru to rally his deeply divided supporters to prepare for next year’s crucial elections.
The party conference opens in the Midlands capital on Friday and is expected to be attended by 5,000 activists. The 88 year-old octogenarian has acknowledged that there is infighting in his party that threatens to derail their chances of winning elections against rival Morgan Tsvangirai, President of the MDC.
Addressing Central Committee members in Harare ahead of Friday’s opening, Mugabe highlighted that next year’s elections provided them with an opportunity to reclaim sole control of the country.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been locked in a shaky power-sharing government since the last elections in 2008 but this time ZANU PF is hoping for a resounding victory against the MDC formations.
‘It is important comrades, that our victory in the harmonised elections should leave no room for doubt in our contestants. Our performance in the elections should certainly disentangle us from the inclusive government monster which, like a behemoth, has pulled back our pro-people programmes,’ Mugabe said.
Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us apart from endorsing Mugabe as the presidential candidate for next year’s election, the conference will be used to lampoon ZANU PF’s opponents and Western countries.
The conference comes at a time when ZANU PF is reportedly broke, but questions have been raised as to where they got the funding to construct the $6 million state-of-art conference centre.
‘They built a $6 million conference but delegates are being forced to buy their own food. They are combing the city for places where they can buy decent meals.
‘Accommodation is being provided at Chaplin High, Cecil John Rhodes Primary School, Kaguvi Training Centre and at Mlezu Agricultural College, but there is no bed linen there, it’s all a mess,’ Saungweme said.