ZANU PF has splashed state-of-the-art Ford Everest vehicles to oil campaigns for its aspiring candidates for the National Assembly with nine days to go to the crucial national elections.
According to the vehicle maker’s South African website, the Ford Everest costs between R384 800 to R450 800 meaning Zanu PF could have shelled out more than R100 million in acquiring the vehicles, a figure that translates to more than $10 million.
It was not immediately clear yesterday how the party sourced funding for the vehicles as it was recently reported to be broke and failing to pay workers’ salaries.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the development yesterday, but could not be drawn into giving more details referring NewsDay’s sister paper Southern Eye to politburo member Nicholas Goche who he said was handling the matter.
“I do not handle cars, the best person to talk to is Goche, he is the one responsible for transport,” Gumbo said.
Goche’s phone went ringing continuously without being answered.
On Saturday, several aides of a number of politicians from Matabeleland and elsewhere in the country were seen driving the brand new cars to their respective areas.
Some of the candidates spotted by this paper with the vehicles include Bubi outgoing legislator Clifford Sibanda, aspiring candidates for Bulawayo Central Mlungisi Moyo, Godfrey Malaba who is eyeing the Pumula seat.
Some senior party members like Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu sent their aides to collect the vehicles on their behalf. However, it was not clear whether the aspirants would retain the vehicles after the elections.
“We were told that it would be decided after elections on whether or not we keep the vehicles. We are not sure what will happen to those losing candidates.
“So we will have to wait until after the election when the party will tell us,” a party candidate said.
“The vehicles were only given to those who will be contesting for the National Assembly”.
Meanwhile, there were reports that some aspiring candidates had to pirate with the new party vehicles to raise money for fuel.
“Some of us went with fuel coupons when we went to collect the vehicles. I think some just went thinking the party would pour fuel and were found wanting when they discovered that it was not the case,” another aspiring candidate said.
“Some were forced to carry people along the way so that they could raise money to buy fuel.”
The vehicles come as a boost particularly to some candidates in Bulawayo province who last week complained during a party crisis meeting that they did not have the money to run their respective campaigns.