Zanu PF has swung into full gear and spruced up its campaign structures as it braces for elections which party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, insists will be held this year “without fail” while MDC-T says it’s on the ground mobilising grassroot support.
Zanu PF has started door-to-door campaigns in some areas, dangling the indigenisation and empowerment carrot and clamouring for the removal of sanctions imposed by the West on President Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants.
The campaign strategy comes against the backdrop of widespread violence throughout the country.
Insiders said as part of the campaign strategy, the party was organising a series of demonstrations against the Harare City Council and foreign businesspeople.
Similar demonstrations will be held in urban areas countrywide, while the empowerment drive and anti-sanctions campaign will also be taken to rural areas.
Youths have been promised flea markets and businesses being run by foreigners and are being made to fill in application forms.
The Zanu PF flag was flying at most flea markets in Harare on Sunday while President Mugabe’s posters were also pasted.
Gumbo confirmed that the mobilisation programme had started and said it was one of the resolutions made at the party’s conference in Mutare last year.
“It’s a party-approved programme which we want people to receive. It’s one of our Mutare resolutions to conscientise, organise and mobilise support for the party,” he said.
“We really want to tell the people our drive for indigenisation and empowerment and make it clear that sanctions must go. The strategy is to educate our people and progress but we don’t like violence,” he said.
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said his party was not worried. “We are on the ground, but we can’t divulge our strategy. All you are seeing, the Zanu Pf flags and so on, is darkness. Darkness will be visible before light comes but when light comes it disappears.
“Beating up people is not campaigning, taking people’s livelihoods is not campaigning. When the light flashes it will be seen because MDC is a wanted party which resides in the hearts and minds of all Zimbabweans,” said Chamisa.
Zanu PF has already embarked on a series of demonstrations against MDC-T’s Harare councillors whom they accuse of being insensitive to the plight of the residents.
The party is also using the state media to further its anti-sanctions drive.
On Sunday, the Zanu PF department of information and publicity distributed pamphlets through the state media blaming sanctions for shortages of medicine, goods and services and lack of employment opportunities in the country.
“We must continue to strive for total independence; we must continue to strive for our own prosperity. That is the way to achieve our own prosperity. That is the only way to achieve our destiny,” read part of the pamphlet.
Gumbo said the messages were testimony that his party had stepped up its campaign against sanctions, which he blamed for the country’s woes.
He said Zanu PF had also realised that its partners in the inclusive government were doing nothing to have the sanctions removed.
The development comes at time when war veterans and party supporters were reportedly picketing the countryside forcing people to sign a petition against sanctions.
Zanu PF aims to raise at least a million signatures.