The Sunday Mail
Levi Mukarati Deputy News Editor —
This is a self-evident truth: Zanu-PF is serious about dominating Zimbabwe’s political landscape in perpetuity. The political opposition is dead.
Matters of economic recovery are returning to centre stage in the ruling party’s discourse. And with elections coming less than two years from now, Zanu-PF is oiling its machinery to ensure its continued stay in power.
But it is not resting until its rivals have been buried six feet under. The party knows that economic stability is important in its bid to bury the opposing voices.
It is also working on mechanisms to raise revenue to finance its campaign, conduct mass mobilisation to attract new members and ensure they vote in 2018 and get into the cyberspace propaganda battle.
According to the Zanu-PF Central Committee Report to the 16th Annual National People’s Conference in Masvingo, addressing economic challenges is central to the ruling party’s strategy.
The party’s Economic Affairs Department says implementation of important polices such as Zim-Asset and the 10-Point Plan for Economic Growth will see Zimbabwe attain its developmental aspirations.
The department notes that agriculture and manufacturing support are important to ensuring economic stability and making Zanu-PF and its Government the only game in town.
In that regard, the party has created an economic committee to guide preparations for the 2018 elections.
“The economic sub-sector committee seeks to promote the party’s economic agenda. The committee developed an economic mobilisation work-plan that will guide the party’s preparations for the 2018 elections,” states the department in its report to the Zanu-PF Central Committee.
The department says agriculture remains pivotal to Zimbabwe’s development given its impact on food security, inclusivity and linkages with other key economic sectors.
“Agricultural production has, nevertheless, remained low due to land underutilisation, limited access to agricultural finance, climate change, technological constraints and limited access to markets.”
Zanu-PF’s Government has implemented programmes such as the Brazil More Food for Africa Programme, Command Agriculture, agricultural inputs support schemes for vulnerable households, and bringing to its logical conclusion the matter of 99-year farm leases and A1 permits.
The programmes show the party’s commitment to improving the standards of living of Zimbabweans. The department says growth in the manufacturing sector is being hampered by low competitiveness, unsustainable cost structures, cheap imports and generally low consumer spending power.
The Economic Affairs Department states that: “The party and Government socio-economic programmes can transform the country’s economic fortunes
“It is recommended that Zimbabweans take an extra mile in religiously implementing national programmes, and communicating implementation progress will help as people get to appreciate efforts by the Government and party to improve the economy.”
Zanu-PF also says it has embarked on a mass mobilisation programme for 2018. According to the Commissariat Department presentation in the Central Committee Report, the ruling party is alert to opposition schemes.
“The department implemented organisational and mass mobilisation programmes in order to strategically position the party for the 2018 election,” it says.
“The party’s popularity and its support base should be protected from detractors and opposition politics. The department remains alert to these political developments in the country and would want to reassure members that the party is on top of the situation.”
This follows attempts by groups such as #Thisflag, Tajamuka, Tasvinura, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Bulawayo Agenda and National Election Reform Agenda to incite the populace to engage in street demonstrations and protests, often in direct conflict with the operations of peace and law enforcement agencies.
Zanu-PF says the party and its Government have fought off the attacks, and has even gone on to win six out of seven parliamentary and 17 local authority by-elections this year.
The Commissariat says the few people still dabbling in opposition politics needed ideology reorientation, hence the timeliness of rolling out the Chitepo Ideological College.
The party has, through its External Relations Department, increased co-operation with other former liberation movements and progressive organisations across the world to fend off regime change manoeuvers by some Western countries that are hostile to Zimbabwe.
In that regard, Zanu- PF participated at international gatherings like the Conference of Political Parties from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in Jakarta, Indonesia.
According to the department, the conference highlighted the “need for increased party-to-party co-operation in the face of Western political and economic hegemony; reiterated African leaders’ call to reform the United Nations especially the Security Council for it to be more inclusive and have Africa permanently represented”.
Zanu-PF notes that it needs to refine its communication strategies in the wake of developments in Information Communication Technology. The position comes amid various uses of social media platforms by both its members and detractors.
According to the Zanu-PF Information and Publicity Department, the party “should design and explore pragmatic strategies to manage communication on social media without frustrating the country’s development efforts”.
It goes on: “There are concerns about the use of social media at a time when political parties are preparing for the 2018 elections.
“The phenomenon has been worsened by people who want to create chaos and destabilise the country through abuse of the platform whereby it is being used to attack the party and its leadership as well as inciting peace-loving Zimbabweans to demonstrate against the Government.”
The department says it will design appropriate strategies to fight cyber threats and actively participate on social media platforms ahead of the 2018 elections.
Zanu-PF is engaging its Youth and Women’s leagues to campaign and mobilise voter support ahead of the polls. Talk about a campaign machinery in full swing.