BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZANU PF candidates eyeing vacant local government and parliamentary seats have reportedly scaled up campaigns, canvassing for votes in door-to-door exercises, doling out freebies in their constituencies despite COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.
Elections remain suspended as a COVID-19 preventive measure, but the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn)’s latest report revealed that Zanu PF aspiring candidates were on the campaign trail.
Opposition parties yesterday said this amounted to unfair electoral practices as police were denying them the same opportunity citing COVID-19 regulations.
In June, three MDC Alliance members were arrested in Bulawayo while conducting a door-to-door voter registration awareness campaign.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s signature consists in abuse of State apparatus. If he is not abusing the army for repression and personal gain, he is using the law to torment political opponents. The selective application of the law is meant to prop his notorious Zanu PF,” MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said.
Zapu Bulawayo spokesperson Patrick Ndlovu added: “Zanu PF is abusing COVID-19 restrictions and regulations to fine tune their rigging apparatus. All gatherings and unnecessary visits are banned under COVID-19 regulations, but Zanu PF is allowed to break those regulations just as they are doing with every facet of life in Zimbabwe as they are a law unto themselves.”
Zesn’s report titled Monitoring Government Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic 2021 confirmed that Zanu PF candidates were in full election campaign.
“Zanu PF aspiring candidates conducted door-to-door campaigns and distributed rice for example around Gokwe Central constituency and in Dangamvura. In Mberengwa West, an aspiring Zanu PF candidate identified as Bridget Bhebhe was campaigning by supporting soccer tournaments,” the report read.
“The aspiring Zanu PF candidate for 2023 National Assembly elections, identified as Givemore Mutodi, was moving around the constituency making donations, for example donating cement to Njaravani Primary and Mazungunye Government High Schools.
“In Mberengwa East constituency, an aspiring Zanu PF candidate distributed face masks in wards 5, 6 and 8.
“Aspiring Zanu PF candidates for the National Assembly were also reportedly campaigning, donating food hampers and offering assistance at funerals, for example buying coffins, in Masvingo West.”
But Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu denied the charge yesterday.
“As far as we are concerned, no party member is campaigning, but what we are doing is a restructuring exercise.
“Only a few days ago, the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) said the same when he announced that no party member must be seen campaigning until there is a declaration to do so,” he said.
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