ZWNEWS.com – Bob’s lift doesn’t reach the top floor

February 27, 2006 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

author/source:Mail & Guardian (SA)
published:Fri 24-Feb-2006
posted on this site:Fri 24-Feb-2006
Article Type : News

The party has not held its weekly politburo meeting since the beginning of the year because it cannot afford to fix the lift in its 14-storey Harare headquarters
Godwin Gandu

It is official – Zanu PF’s financial crisis does not go right to the top. The party has not held its weekly politburo meeting since the beginning of the year because it cannot afford to fix the lift in its 14-storey Harare headquarters. This week, politburo bigwigs congregated for their first meeting in weeks in the ground-floor hall normally reserved for conferences and public meetings. The party is battling to raise what sounds like the huge sum of Z$160-million (R6 154) needed for spares and maintenance. But the crisis has not deterred the party fund-raising committee from setting itself the target of raising Z$10-billion (R384 615) for Mugabe’s 82nd birthday bash, to be held at Mutare this weekend. This is many times the amount Otis elevators has quoted the party to fix its lift. “The cost could be higher because there are no spare parts locally available for the elevators. This means forking out foreign currency,” says a staff member at headquarters.

Party insiders say the faction headed by retired general Solomon Mujuru has seized the opportunity …

presented by Zanu PF’s financial woes to further the campaign to isolate Emmerson Mnangagwa in the battle to succeed Mugabe. Mnangagwa was in charge of party finances in the 1990s. The Mail & Guardian has been reliably informed that the five companies owned by the party “are in the red and run down”. Its publishing house, Jongwe Printers, almost had to auction its printing press, recently imported from Germany, to settle an estimated Z$300-million debt. Party employees have gone for months without pay. Secretary of Information Nathan Shamuyarira devised a repayment schedule – which was unfortunately rejected by its creditors. The party has debts of more than $2-billion (R76 922), most of which have not been serviced since last year’s parliamentary elections. Although it is expected to land a Z$12-billion (R461 538) allocation under the Political Parties Finance Act next week, this will not be enough to clear it debts, which include the cost of buying new cars for the provinces.

Angered by the state of party finances, Mugabe is understood to have acceded to a thorough investigation of the party’s books. It will be led by Zanu PF finance chief David Karimanzira, Oppa Muchinguri, Nicholas Goche, Dumiso Dabengwa and Obert Mpofu. As they are all close allies of Mujuru, the probe will turn the screws on the already embattled Mnangagwa. Private companies have been asked to bankroll Mugabe’s birthday celebrations, while each of the party’s 10 provinces is expected to contribute Z$1-billion (R38 461). In a letter to Zanu youth, chairperson Absalom Sikhosana pleads with companies to donate and make the celebrations “historic” and “memorable for our children”. This week, Mugabe told state broadcaster Newsnet that his doctor had told him his “bones are those of someone of 30”. He said he was “grateful to the people [of Zimbabwe] for creating an environment in which I’ve been able to live so long”.

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Entry filed under: Present, Zimbabwe Politics.

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