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Mixed Feelings Over Annual Zanu-PF Conference

Zimbabweans have expressed mixed feelings over the benefits of Zanu-PF’s 14th annual National People’s Conference to be held in Chinhoyi in December this year.

Some argue that the event is designed to be a politicking stage for senior Zanu-PF officials.

The hosting of the conference in the Mashonaland West provincial capital has drawn mixed feelings as some business people are welcoming the move, saying they are likely to make brisk business during the five-day event.

Transport operator, Pastor Tawanda Munaki, said chances are high that his business will be boosted by the event.

Munaki said there was brisk business when President Robert Mugabe addressed an election rally in the run-up to the July 31 general polls and therefore he expects a lot of business when the party holds its national conference.

On the other hand, Zanu-PF member Chengetai Murodza, said he is looking forward to the conference as it will provide him with an opportunity to inform the leadership about the problems they are facing on a daily basis.

But some say such events are normally full of political rhetoric and it is a time for the party leadership to dine and wine with the so-called masses.

A Chinhoyi resident, Marvellous Pasipanodya, said she fears that their normal day to day activities will be disrupted like what happened when the president addressed an election campaign rally in Chinhoyi two months ago.

Some shops were shut-down and hundreds of local people coerced to attend the rally.

She said nothing new will come out of the Zanu-PF conference.

This was echoed by Liberty Mukwakwami, who said these conferences are only just for political purposes.

Mukwakwami said the ruling party members must, instead, address the food situation, water crisis, power cuts and accommodation issues affecting millions of people.

Pastor Munaki added that there are long time benefits like using the conference and offices that are being built in Chinhoyi.

Indications are that the Chinhoyi Council will not benefit much from the conference as the piece of land the $10 million conference is built is considered state land.

Acting Town Clerk, Abel Gotora, said they hoped to generate some money from the conference through venue charges but this will no longer be the case.

The Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial executive noted in a meeting held Sunday that preparations are being stalled by the setting up of the conference center which will be built using pre-fabricated material.

More than 6,000 people are expected to attend the conference which normally focuses on various issues ranging from the state of the nation and Zanu-PF to the day-to-day challenges faced by Zimbabweans.