A year after Zanu-PF’s succession war was settled with the help of the military, the ruling party says it is happy with the direction in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa is steering the country.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo (SKM) told our senior reporter Xolisani Ncube (XN) in a wide-ranging interview that Mnangagwa was committed to reviving the economy.
He said the ruling party was also happy that former president Robert Mugabe’s ouster had ended politics of hate in the country and put the economy at the centre.
He defended Zanu-PF’s decision to splash millions of dollars on top-of-the-range vehicles for its senior leaders at a time the government is urging Zimbabweans to tighten their belts following the introduction of austerity measures last month.
XN: It’s a year since former president Robert Mugabe was toppled. As Zanu-PF, do you still feel the way you changed your leadership was right?
SKM: I believe as a party and government we have done a lot of good work.
It has been a busy year for us as a party and our president has set the ball rolling.
For the first time in the history of Zimbabwe, we had more than 100 political parties contesting in an election.
We had no violence, parties were allowed to campaign freely and everyone respected other people’s rights and choices.
For the first time, we had 23 or more presidential candidates and everyone was allowed to go to any place to campaign and sell their message to the voters.
Since Zanu-PF is a giant, we managed to win back our power and also we are people-centred.
On the economic front, we have stabilised the economy and have put measures to ensure that we have a middle-class economy by 2030, a vision stated by our president. So I can tell you that we are on the right track.
XN: But ordinary people feel the economic situation has worsened after the departure of Mugabe. We have shortages of basic goods and the financial markets are not stable. What is your reaction to that?
SKM: You have to understand that Zimbabwe has had to endure decades of isolation largely because of our land reform programme.
We have had sanctions put on us as a country and we have suffered a lot.
When President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over, he opened his hands for dialogue.
He has opened his government for business and we are re-engaging with everyone across the globe.
So it would be impossible that we experience a turnaround within a short space of time.
Also, let me tell you that we have noted sabotage by those who do not want to see Zimbabwe flourish.
They cause shortages of foreign currency. It is important to note that government has moved swiftly to address that.
If you were to go into shops, you will find a different picture, our shops have restocked and we are slowly getting there.
Yes, we had challenges, but government has put in place measures to address that.
Have you read about the government’s transition stabilisation programme? We are working around the clock to ensure that we have economic stabilisation and a turnaround.
XN: Corruption has been identified as a real threat to economic recovery and people out there believe that the Zanu-PF regime is doing nothing to fight the scourge. How do you respond to that?
SKM: You might appreciate that since the coming-in of President Mnangagwa, we have seen a number of people being arrested for corruption.
The president has adopted zero tolerance to corruption. I think you have seen bigwigs at the courts on allegations of corruption.
No matter your status in society, our president and our laws are very clear: you must be accountable for your actions.
Even if you are a cabinet minister, a central committee member or a politburo member, you will have to answer for your actions.
The president has promulgated policies that deal with corruption. If you have been following events at the courts, you can tell that the situation indeed has changed.
No matter your position, if you do a wrong thing, you will have to answer for that.
Our anti-corruption drive is paying dividends, we will win this war. It’s a war we should all sacrifice to win. Every Zimbabwean has a mandate to fight corruption.
XN: What is Zanu-PF’s position on Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s proposals to cut government expenditure by retrenching civil servants?
SKM: The government has adopted the transition stabilisation programme, which deals with the public service and how as government we should deal with our finances in terms of expenditure.
You must read through and appreciate what the government is doing to address those anomalies.
More importantly, government has already begun the process to trim down the public service by retiring and streamlining ministries and departments.
So as a party, we are delighted that yes, the process is not very quick, but we are moving. We have a number of challenges, but they are not insurmountable.
XN: At a time the government is encouraging Zimbabweans to tighten their belts, Zanu-PF has been on a spending spree. People are asking where the party is getting the money to buy top-of-the-range vehicles.
SKM: We are a gigantic party with a strong support base. We have friends of the party as well who come in and assist.
We are an organised party, not a tuck-shop briefcase movement thriving on stone-throwing and making noise, we have a social base that has representation everywhere.
We have friends who believe in us as a party and assist when need be.
XN: Some have alleged that you are using or abusing state resources to acquire these assets while the taxpayer is wallowing in poverty.
SKM: The money we get from government is very clear. It is regulated by law and given to every party with representation which is above 5% in Parliament.
We don’t abuse any state resources, but work with a strong budget supported by our people.
From government, we only get what is ours in accordance with the law, the Political Parties Finance Act and all.
XN: So who is buying those top-of-the-range vehicles and funding the party?
SKM: Which vehicles? we are a party of programmes and have many friends, did I not say that? What do you want to hear?
No, we are not getting money from government other than what is allocated to us as stated by the law; we are funded by our people and get valuable assistance from our friends from time to time.
XN: Are you happy with the state of the party a year after Mugabe’s exit from the scene?
SKM: Before the operation, we had disunity within the party, there was no cohesion amongst our people and today we have a different story.
The thrust of our politics as a country has shifted from the politics of hate to economic agenda.
We might not have achieved all we wanted, but certainly we are getting there.
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