Village Rhapsody: Bussing supporters and vote buying ahead of August 23

Bussing supporters can be seen as a form of vote-buying or coercion.

Last Wednesday Harare’s central business district and other roads outside the city were littered with Zupco buses and cars ferrying Zanu PF supporters to Robert Mugabe Square where the ruling party held its star rally ahead of the August 23 harmonised elections.

They owned the city, blocking roads and some commuters had to use other means to go about their business.

Bussing supporters to attend rallies is a common practice used by political parties and other organisations to increase the visibility of their events and to generate excitement among their supporters.

It can also be used to transport supporters to rallies that are held in remote locations or that are scheduled during inconvenient times.

However, the question still remains: does it help in getting more votes?

Meanwhile, opposition political parties and civil society organisations accuse Zanu PF of misusing public funds by utilising Zupco buses to ferry its followers to rallies across the nation.

It has been claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa's Zanu fixation with bussing supporters to his rallies is part of a well-orchestrated scheme to claim support and hide any potential rigging.

The party has so far bussed thousands of its supporters to attend its campaign rallies across the country.

Bussing supporters can be seen as a form of vote-buying or coercion.

This is especially true if the supporters are offered money or other gifts to attend rallies.

Vote-buying is a serious problem in Zimbabwe, and it is likely to be even more prevalent in the 2023 election.

Many Zimbabweans are struggling to make ends meet, and they are, therefore, more susceptible to offers of money or other gifts in exchange for their vote despite the lack of trust in the electoral system.

Some Zimbabweans believe that the elections are rigged, and that their vote will not make a difference.

This makes them more likely to accept bribes in order to try to ensure that their preferred candidate wins.

The impunity with which vote buying is often carried out has eroded the credibility of Zimbabwe’s electoral system.

There are few consequences for vote buying in Zimbabwe, and this makes it a very attractive option for politicians and their supporters.

In the run-up to the 2023 election, there have already been reports of vote buying by both the ruling Zanu PF party and the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

In some cases, voters have been offered money, food, and other gifts in exchange for their vote.

In other cases, they have been threatened with violence if they do not vote for a particular candidate or to attend rallies of certain political parties.

Vote buying is a serious threat to democracy in Zimbabwe.

It undermines the integrity of the electoral process and it disenfranchises voters who are not willing to sell their vote.

It is also a form of corruption, and it diverts resources away from essential services.

The government of Zimbabwe needs to take urgent steps to address the problem of vote buying.

 This includes strengthening the electoral laws, increasing the transparency of the electoral process, and punishing those who are caught vote buying.

The government also needs to address the root causes of vote buying, such as poverty and lack of trust in the electoral system.

If the government does not take action to address the problem of vote buying, the 2023 election is likely to be deeply flawed.

This could lead to further instability and violence in Zimbabwe.

  • Evans Mathanda is a journalist and development practitioner who writes in his personal capacity. For feedback email: [email protected] or call 0719770038 and Twitter @EvansMathanda19

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