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Of party regalia, elections


HARDLY two weeks before the 2018 polls scheduled for July 30, supporters of various parties have sought to paint towns and cities and even rural outposts or wherever their party will be holding meetings or rallies with its colours.

These traditionally come in the form of caps and hats, shirts, dresses, T-shirts as well as wrapping cloth for women.

NewsDay Weekender spoke to some of devoted political party members who shared their sentiments on such regalia.

Zanu-PF political commissar for the Women’s League in Tongogara District and war collaborator, Phyllis Masawi, said having such regalia demonstrated a cadre’s commitment to the party.

“Party regalia is important in that it not only shows which side I support, it also shows that you are a true and committed member of your party. I cannot imagine anyone who claims to be a Zanu PF member not having such regalia. How can you support the party and have nothing to show for it?” she said.

A young woman who refused to be named and in her early 20s described such regalia as “smart wear”, which she does not just put on during rallies or party meetings, but was also a fashion statement.

“I wear my regalia whenever I want, whether I am going into town or at home. I have actually made mine into a stylish dashiki skirt, as you can see, which I can even wear with anything as it is trending,” she said.

Theodore — who resides in Mabvuku said he had both a Zanu PF and an MDC-T regalia and he does it for “security reasons”. He usually wears them invariably depending on circumstances.

“I only attend rallies and even take part in the scrambles when necessary because it’s important for me to keep at least two different types of regalia of influential parties to protect my family,” he said.

“Others will be taking as much as six or seven Zambias (pieces of wrapping cloth) and T-shirts per person.”

He said in the run-up to the 2008 presidential re-run, Zanu PF members hounded people in their homes and one had to show that they were throwing in their lot with the party.

“We have learnt our lesson and this time we are prepared.”

While some said they would scramble for the clothing items because they could not resist freebies of any kind, they often used it — especially T-shirts — as night wear.

“Who can resist those freebies, something that you did not sweat for? If you can get more through pushing and shoving, why not?” Robert Muzanenhamo said.

Such regalia, especially in past elections, even soured relationships between members of the same party in neighbourhoods, according to Zanu PF’s Masawi.

“There are many fights that come along with party regalia, mainly because some people do not attend the meetings where these items are freely given. We leave everything else to attend rallies and party meetings, while some people will be sleeping at home and when they see you with the several pieces of the regalia, they become envious,” she said.

MDC Alliance youth league chairperson for Ward 19, Washington Marimo, said the regalia showed true commitment to a political party and made one recognisable among their compatriots.

The party regalia has become a trend and is used in a number of ways such as for fashionable outfits like dresses, blazers and doeks.

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