ZANU PF officials are plotting to take President Emmerson Mnangagwa head-on in today’s central committee meeting regarding the country’s worsening economic situation which has left them under pressure from their constituents who want answers to the crisis.
Mnangagwa will preside over politburo and central committee meetings amid a deepening economic crisis characterised by inflated prices of goods as well as shortages of fuel, cooking oil and other basic goods triggered by an acute shortage of foreign currency.
Coming soon after Mnangagwa’s narrow electoral victory over opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, the crisis has left Zanu PF and government at loggerheads on how to resolve the problems.
The economic crisis has also left the party under pressure from the opposition party which still insists Mnangagwa is being haunted by legitimacy crisis after the controversial July 30 polls, whose results were deemed “unverifiable” and “untraceable” by the European Union Election Observation Mission in its final report two weeks ago.
Some central committee members who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said they were under pressure from their constituencies seeking to know if there was a way out of the crisis.
“Seriously, we have come to the point where everyone is blaming us for what is happening. People are saying we are now degenerating into the 2008 chaos and I think they are justified to say that,” said a central committee member who refused to be named.
“What we need now is to provide answers. We need clear-cut assurances on how the government is planning to move us out of this crisis.
“We need to have answers for the people and if there was going to be an opportunity without being labelled as attacking leadership, the majority of the central committee members will take the leadership to task,” the member added. Wheels came off after new Finance minister Mthuli Ncube introduced the Transitional Stabilisation Programme on the same day the central bank issued a midterm monetary policy statement that introduced foreign currency nostro accounts and a 2% tax on electronic transactions that triggered a wave of price hikes.
Since then, the crisis has been deepening each day, raising fears that the country could be retracing its 2008 footsteps that saw it hit world inflation records.
The crisis has left the majority of Zanu PF officials exposed to pressure from the opposition and the general public who now doubt Mnangagwa’s ability to steer the country out of the quagmire.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu yesterday said those that want to raise the issue must freely do so and have the matter deliberated on.
“If they want answers, they can raise the issues at the meeting,” Mpofu said.
“That is the purpose of the meetings and that is where people are allowed to deliberate on issues of concern and if they have those issues, they are free to raise them. It may not necessarily be on the agenda, but if they mentioned that to you, we will listen to what they have to say,” he said.
Asked if there would not be any form of reprisals for openly challenging the leadership on the crisis, Mpofu said Mnangagwa was a listening President and the meeting was convened to have issues discussed.
“Zanu PF is a very democratic party and our President is a listening President and listens to everything that members raise and that they know. If there are issues that they want to raise to the attention of the party, I am sure this is the opportunity that they have,” he said.
Mpofu, however, refused to discuss the agenda of the meeting, saying it was the prerogative of Mnangagwa.
The meeting comes at a time a former member of the Zanu PF youth league William “Acie Lumumba” Mutumanje has claimed the country was being held hostage by a cartel of business people that has captured the central bank. He also alleged massive corruption at the central bank that led to the suspension of four top managers early this week.
Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi was not reachable for comment yesterday, but of late, the party has clashed with government on how to resolve the economic problems. On Tuesday, government capitulated to the demand by Zanu PF to repeal Statutory Instrument 122 which set a ban on importation of certain goods.