HomeLocal NewsZanu PF rolls out campaign to buy votes — Analyst

Zanu PF rolls out campaign to buy votes — Analyst

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ZANU PF is initiating a series of projects such as funeral insurance schemes, youth empowerment and indigenisation programmes, housing co-operatives and several other channels for its supporters and analysts say this is tantamount to vote-buying, coming at a time when the country draws closer to polls.

Report by Everson Mushava, Chief Reporter

President Robert Mugabe has indicated that he wants elections to be held at the end of March next year to end the fragile unity government, in place since 2009 after disputed polls in 2008.

Zanu PF  spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has, however, defended the party’s policies, saying the party was out to empower the people and there was nothing sinister in the projects.

“Any political party worth its salt should come up with an enticing manifesto to win voters. Zanu PF’s empowerment programme has been there since time immemorial. Why can’t other parties roll out their own policies?” Gumbo said.

However, political analyst Alexander Rusero said most projects by Zanu PF were bordering on vote-buying and gave the party an unfair advantage over other parties which did not have access to State resources used by Zanu PF.

“Parties should be voted into power through what they articulate in their campaign manifesto, not what they do,” Rusero said.

“Outside the manifesto, if you say to people vote for me and I will give you this, it is called vote-buying. It is a seed for future political crisis.

“Vote-buying has been discredited in the Sadc Guiding Principles on the Conduct of Free and Fair Elections 2005 because it gives advantages to ruling parties with access to State resources.”

Zanu PF, despite publicly claiming that the indigenisation programme currently spearheaded by Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere is a national project, in its 2009 and 2010 central committee reports gleaned by NewsDay, show it is a party project, just like the land reform.

The party used land to shake off a stiff challenge from the then newly-formed MDC in 2000 and also spent millions of dollars on war victims’ compensation long after independence.

An agricultural mechanisation programmes that saw chiefs, army commanders and party bigwigs getting farming equipment and inputs from the Reserve Bank followed as the party sought to win the 2005 elections.

In a determined bid to avoid defeat in the next do-or-die elections, Zanu PF is rolling out yet more programmes to lure voters.

Through the indigenisation programme, the party has unveiled community share ownership schemes at mines to lure the rural voters.

To date, share ownership schemes in mining communities of Ngezi, Zvishavane, Marange and Gwanda have been launched and another one for Hwange was unveiled yesterday.

In the same vein, youth programmes that saw many party youths getting loans to finance projects have also been unveiled, while the party intends to craft new laws to free jailed illegal panners ostensibly to win the support of the youth.

Mugabe’s party has also come up with housing co-operatives for its supporters through Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Most recently, the party rolled out an insurance scheme for its supporters with the first one commissioned in Mbare at the weekend spearheaded by aspiring parliamentary candidate Tendai Savanhu.

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