Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

ED's First Ever Conference As The First Secretary

18 Nov 2018 at 13:35hrs | Views
The Zanu-PF National People's Conference will be held in Esigodini, Matabeleland South province in December, the party's secretary for information Cde Simon Khaya Moyo has said.

The 17th National People's Conference was supposed to be held last year but was suspended to pave way for an Extraordinary Congress that was held in Harare last December which ushered in ED and gave ZANU PF a new face and a new life

The terms party conference (UK English), political convention (US English), and party congress usually refer to a general meeting of a political party. The conference is attended by certain delegates who represent the party membership. In most political parties, the party conference is the highest decision-making body of the organization, tasked with electing or nominating the party's leaders or leadership bodies, deciding party policy, and setting the party's platform and agendas. However in ZANU PF the Congress is the highest decision making body.  
The term conference or  caucus may also refer to the organization of all party members as a whole.

The main event for the media and party members tends to be the big set piece speeches by the party leaders. There are also debates on party policy. The parties have increasingly tried to inject excitement by inviting high-profile guest speakers. Away from the main Tent there are fringe meetings -plottings and counter plottings.  These are more informal sessions, normally with a panel of three or four speakers debating a topical issue and taking questions from the audience.Delegates are expected to raise issues and the conference votes on them.  Conference gives the party an opportunity to take stock of the past year. Conferences are meant to rejuvenate the party and forge a  way forward.

Delegates vote  on a presented topic and the aim is to have each contribution to be applied.

Party conferences are often referred to as the Money suckers of the political calendar. Sad though it sounds, there is some truth in it. A lot of people go, and they're very messy. (Plus, to many Rural types, they're an exciting social occasion – and far away from the maddening crowds.  

ZANU PF party has an annual conference, where its members and politicians go to discuss the state of the party and its future. Each one year works slightly differently, but all are covered by the media and result in policy announcements (and, with any luck, massive rows).

But what actually happens at these dry looking events in wet remote towns, and why should you care?

Historically, party conferences have been held in provinces alternating yearly. They're not in Harare because, well, every other political event is in Harare and party conferences are ostensibly for party members to get a chance to meet and listen to their politicians unfiltered by the press.

This leads to enjoyable scenarios, like party conference clashing with Christmas and students uni freshers' week, when you see 18-year-olds in torn Carnage t-shirts and old bald men in lanyards in equal measure queuing up for the same clubnights.

Party conference delegates are ordinary party members who pay to attend. They receive a pass and access to all the speeches by politicians in the main auditorium, as well as the conference fringe tents. Delegates get to vote on policy motions they put forward in most parties' conferences.
conferences last for longer than a weekend, so many working party members have to take days off to attend the full conference programme.  But this year the president has cut it to two days. Previously conferences were usually over seven days.
Journalists descend on party conferences to cover everything that happens on stage and behind-the-scenes. They all get conference flu.

Most of a party's key players get to make a speech in the main auditorium. This is good for the members, because they are given the chance to see their beloved politicians speak in the flesh, rather than through a TV clip or print interviews. It's also good for the politicians, because if they have career aspirations, these are the people who will be voting for them in leadership contests to come.

The conference stage can also be a place where rising stars are born.
Delegates at all party conferences  get the chance to put motions forward, and vote on policy decisions and rule changes. It works differently at different conferences, but delegates get to vote on motions proposed by constituency parties and unions, and policy proposals formulated by the party's NEC

A big echoey room full of stalls and stands set up by all the interest groups attending conference.

The conference fringe is a schedule of panels, debates, speeches, drinks receptions and parties that are not part of the official conference agenda.

Conference is a little like freshers' week but with old men. Everyone's rushing their work and going to as many drinks events and meeting as many people as possible. There are parties – some more exclusive than others – that happen within and without the secure zone, which are also a big source of news and hangovers for the journalists who prowl the circuit.
Conferences are not paid for by the government. Each province pays for its delegate. ZANU PF normally runs  fund raising projects. They set targets and each province has to meet  its own target. So the funding for the conference is not taken from government plates. Whatever amount used is sourced by ZANU PF.

SO conferences do not stretch their hands in the government coffers.
Many times the rumour mongers jump to criticise the party for blowing large chunks of funds at conferences. This is surely barking.  

The funds used for the conference are never meant to be pumped in the economy
Conferences never affect public coffers.

There is a sharp difference between the party and government. So people should not castigate Government for ZANU PF's conferences.    

This years conference will be historical as it is the first post independence conference to be presided over by a new face.  This will be the very first conference without Mugabe.

As the first conference its success or failure will say a lot about the new President.
There are many who are willing to see the conference fail and cast darl aspessions on ED's leadership.
We do accept that this year has been tough and challenging  for ED. The austerity measures are peeling off the skin. They take no prisoners.

ED will grace the conference with a background of  high prices and food shortages.
While ZANU PF is not the government it is running the government. So the conference must come out with meanigful measures to protect the masses from the jaws of the changing fortunes.

The conference comes when the country has angry masses adjusting to the harsh austerities.
The approach taken by ED is commendable the conference has its theme covered in economy.  The country now need economic views not political ones.  

ED has to have his own shoe not to waste time trying to fit the shoes of those who are resting.

The excitement of the conference fills the air of Bulawayo. The norm is conference brings business to the area.
People expect to see a great change in the conduct  of this conference. In the past major suppliers were Gishungo holdings.

A new dispensation must divorce itself fro the past corruption.
Even if ED's relatives bid for the conference in any way fairness and justice must be seen to be done. Fairness must flow from the party to the state.

2018. ZANU PF very first conference without Cde Mugabe

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.