Cash crisis bites ZANU-PF

Local Government Minister, Dr Ignatius Chombo.

 Ignatius Chombo

THE ruling ZANU-PF party is neck-deep in the throes of financial woes, resulting in failure to pay scores of its employees for the last six months.
So thin is the party’s financial base that it has been forced to dismiss some of its workers without paying them any exit packages.
As the tightening economic situation sinks its teeth deep into the revolutionary party, workers have been rendered vulnerable.
Most of them are now surviving on the goodwill of well-wishers, while others have turned to moonlighting.
Investments that were ideally meant to feed income into party coffers are also in a crisis of their own while some have all together collapsed.
These investments have thus been unable to remit neither dividends nor income to their shareholders.
Among ZANU-PF owned companies on the verge of collapse is Jongwe Printers, which has not paid its employees for a whole year.
Workers at the party’s internal publication, The People’s Voice — a direct offshoot of Jongwe Printers — have also not been paid for six months.
Party spokesman, Simon Khaya-Moyo, was evasive on the issue, after being contacted for comment.
At first, his reply was: “Do you want to pay them? Who told you that and what are they trying to achieve.”
When it was put to him that the workers themselves had alerted this paper, he calmed down and said: “On such issues, I can comment only when I get official correspondence from the secretary for administration.”
At some point, companies owned by the ruling party were the subject of an internal investigation.
This was after it had been felt that mismanagement and other corporate ills were contributing to their poor performance.
The investigation resulted in the production of a controversial report, whose recommendations were never taken up after the document fuelled tensions among ZANU-PF factions.
Workers at ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare confirmed this week that they last received their salaries in April.
“It is true that we have not been paid for six months now, but I cannot talk to you further than this. As workers we are under strict orders not to talk to the media,” one employee said.
Even in the provinces, workers there have also not been receiving their salaries.
ZANU-PF is funded from many sources.
It is principally funded from donations, membership fees and subscriptions.
The party also gets a share of State funding availed through the Political Parties Finance Act.
In July, the party received US$2,3 million of the US$3 million provided for under the Act, following its overwhelming victory in the 2013 polls.
Another source of funding for the party has been dividends from its cluster of companies in which it is invested, most of which are facing collapse owing to the economic crisis in the country.
Party insiders said the purges that rattled the party late last year, going into this year, did not help matters as ZANU-PF was left with a disfigured frame and shattered structures from whose membership it could not collect any meaningful subscriptions.
As it is, the party is struggling to raise funds for its annual conference set for Victoria Falls in two weeks’ time.
While the party has extended a begging bowl to the distressed corporate sector and hosted a dinner to fundraise for the conference, it has still fallen far short of what it requires to host the conference.
The dinner raised less than half of the US$2 million it expected.
But, while the party faces problems internally and nationally, there are accusations that those in the corridors of power have been insulated from the crisis.
Ironically, Politburo members reportedly get huge sitting allowances whenever the party’s highest decision-making body meets, as they did yesterday, to deliberate on party issues.
According to the ZANU-PF constitution, the Politburo meets at least once per month, but they have been meeting more frequently over the last few months as preparations for the annual conference gather momentum.
ZANU-PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, under whose department the party’s secretariat falls, was unreachable as well as his deputy, July Moyo.
Khaya-Moyo was also not reachable when the Financial Gazette sought him to comment.

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