POLITICAL party funding has come under the spotlight ahead of the general elections in Zimbabwe.
The ruling Zanu-PF’s national commissar‚ retired Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeje‚ said last week that the party would soon distribute millions of campaign materials to the masses.
“As for regalia‚ we have 15 million T-shirts‚ 15 million caps and some have already arrived‚” he said.
“We also have two million [body] wrappers for women. This year we want every party member to get at least three caps and three T-shirts.
“We want to paint the country with our regalia [so that] out of every three people you meet‚ two will be in Zanu-PF party regalia.”
Last year‚ in preparation for the election season‚ Zanu-PF spent more than US$60-million on 365 off-road vehicles‚ most of them Ford Rangers. At the time of the purchase‚ the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai branded Zanu-PF a “mafia” organisation.
In 2013‚ all its election candidates were given either a Ford Ranger‚ Toyota Hilux or Ford Everest.
“When the party won‚ we kept the cars‚” an election candidate from the Midlands‚ who lost, said.
If his candidature is approved‚ he is due for another car.
Political analyst Professor Philani Moyo from Fort Hare University said Zanu-PF would have the upper hand because of money.
“We are likely to see Zanu-PF out-spending other political parties on regalia‚ campaign vehicles and a sustained media blitz in terms of visibility.
“I foresee Zanu-PF being miles ahead of the MDC Alliance/People’s Rainbow Coalition by the end of May,” he said.
“Whether that will translate into votes will be known once election results are announced.”
So far‚ it looks gloomy for the main MDC under the leadership of Nelson Chamisa, which is in debt.
Its workers have gone for months without pay.
To make matters worse‚ the party has been split into two. A breakaway faction of the MDC is being led by Thokozani Khupe.
Both factions applied to receive $1.8-million owed to the main MDC under the Political Parties Finance Act and it was given to the party.
“That is not enough. It will last a few rallies and not help candidates in their respective constituencies.
“It can’t even buy enough campaign T-shirts‚” Moyo said.