THE past few weeks saw the birth of a new trend of fashion whereby scores of people are putting on Zanu PF regalia especially T-shirts and caps.
Report by Own Correspondent
This is most common at commuter omnibus ranks where commuter omnibus drivers, conductors and touts have “embraced” the new outfits.
Zanu PF youths are dishing out party paraphelania at commuter ranks and have put up posters of President Robert Mugabe and other Zanu PF candidates on Kombis without the vehicle owners’ consent.
Not only kombi staff have been recipients of free party regalia, but the public have also taken up this “fashion trend,” but for a lot of reasons, most common of which, according to many that have been interviewed, is to save their own skins.
The question is: Is it out of love for the party or patriotism that people seem attracted to political regalia? Or is it fear?
“Zanu PF youths came and put stickers and posters on our kombis without our consent and we are afraid to remove them,” said a kombi driver plying the Harare-Chitungwiza route who refused to be named.
“We were also given T-shirts for free and we had no option, but to accept and put them on.”
Another kombi driver echoed the same sentiments, but said the regalia was useful during election period as they assisted them to pass through police roadblocks without hustles.
“Who would refuse the free T-shirts? And when the youths put posters on our vehicles who has the power to remove them? The traffic cops fear Zanu PF and will think that we are so special so they let us pass without harrassment,” he said.
Several Harare and Marondera residents this week said they were using the regalia as protection from political violence perpetrators.
“We are just wearing these to protect ourselves from political thugs. It does not mean that I support the party. Remember what happened in 2008 when only those with Zanu PF cards, T-shirts or other party apparel were spared,” said a woman from Budiriro, Harare.
Another Harare man said the regalia did not mean that Zanu PF was popular.
“If it is out of love for the party then there is no need for the country to go for elections because it would be clear everybody supports the party. The truth is that it is out of fear. I received the party regalia and I put it on every time to protect myself, but when I face the ballot box it will be something else,” he said.
Street vendors have also capitalised on the Zanu PF regalia which they put on to scare off municipal police.
The vendors, however, said apart from the regalia being useful in their protection, they still did not have any option, but to accept and put it on otherwise they risked being chased from their selling points by Zanu PF youths. Since it was free, they lost nothing in wearing the clothes they said.
“Who does not want free clothes? Whenever, I get an opportunity to grab one or two t-shirts I do so. The regalia provide security from municipal police who are themselves afraid of Zanu PF,” a vendor in Harare said.